A Deemed Death

The importance of updating your Will regularly.

Changes in relationships and circumstances often necessitate you having to make personal adjustments in your life, and in this regard your Will should be no exception, especially so in the event of divorce.

Section 2B of the Wills Act 7 of 1953 comes into operation in circumstances where the deceased passes away within three months of the date of his or her decree of divorce whilst at the same time his or her Will predates the decree of divorce. In this instance, and unless the Will discloses a contrary intention from the deceased, section 2B then regards the deceased’s ex-spouse as having died on the date of divorce thereby disqualifying such ex-spouse from any inheritance provided for in the Will.

Whilst section 2B may seem somewhat overreaching in its effect, its aim is intended to protect the deceased from what is reasonably assumed to be unintended and undesirable consequences from the deceased’s would be point of view in that an ex-spouse benefits once more after having already benefited (or at least having had the opportunity of benefitting) from his or her recent divorce within three months of the death of the deceased.

In effect, section 2B affords the testator or testatrix a three month grace period immediately after divorce during which time the testator or testatrix may, with some measure of protection against their ex-spouse, attend to the revision of their Will, failing which the testator’s or testatrix’s ex-spouse shall stand to benefit from the deceased’s estate to the exclusion and detriment of any future spouse and/or children many months and/or years after the date of the divorce.

In conclusion, and whilst you may not always be assured of your will being done in life, you can ensure that it is done in death by regularly updating your Will.

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