Will your ex-spouse inherit under your Will?

Section 2(B) of the Wills Act, Act 7 of 1953 (“Wills Act”) states as follows:

“If any person dies within three months after his marriage was dissolved by divorce or annulment by a competent court and that person executed a Will before the date of dissolution, that Will shall be implemented in the same manner as it would have been implemented if his previous spouse had died before the date of dissolution concerned unless it appears from the Will that the testator intended to benefit his previous spouse notwithstanding the dissolution of his marriage”

In terms of section 2(B) of the Wills Act, an ex-spouse is precluded from inheriting for a period of three (3) months from dissolution of a marriage being either through a divorce or an annulment.

For the three (3) month exclusion period, in terms of the Wills Act to apply, the following conditions are required:

  1. The deceased died on or after 1 October 1992;
  2. The deceased executed a Will before dissolution of the marriage;
  3. The marriage had been dissolved either by divorce or annulment within a three (3) month period from date of death.

The exclusion in terms of section 2(B) of the Wills Act will not apply if the deceased executed a Will after the marriage was dissolved or if the deceased died three (3) months after the dissolution of the marriage and did not change or amend his or her Will within the three (3) month period.

It is therefore advisable that if you have instituted divorce proceedings against your spouse that you review your Will.  If you die and you have nominated your ex-spouse to inherit under your Will and the three (3) month exclusion period passes, your ex-spouse will be entitled to inherit under your Will.

Please contact us for further advice surrounding your divorce or the drawing up of your Will.