Is My Will Still Valid After Separation or Divorce?

An existing will is still valid after separation or divorce. However, section 56(2) of the Wills, Estates and Succession Act, S.B.C. 2009, ch.13 provides that any appointment, power of appointment, or gift to a spouse of a will-maker who has ceased to be a spouse at the time of the will-maker’s death is revoked.

If your will appoints your separated or former spouse as the executor, they would be passed-over in favour of the alternate executor.

Any gifts to your separated or former spouse would pass to the alternate beneficiaries named in your will. In the event that your will does not name alternate beneficiaries, that gift would pass as if you had died without a will.

Under the Wills, Estates and Succession Act, two persons cease to be spouses upon separation. This applies to both common-law and married couples. A court order or separation agreement is not required to confirm separation.

It is important to review the provisions of your will whenever a change occurs in your life, including breakdown of a relationship.