Katie Price unwittingly reveals the importance of updating a Will
Last year Katie Price stated on the TV show ‘Loose Women’ that she had not changed her Will following her divorce from pop-legend Peter Andre; Ms Price appeared again this month on the same show and commented that she still had not changed her Will. Her understanding being that her estate would pass to Mr Andre, despite being divorced and re-married, and not to any of her three children.
Katie Price believes that should she die her current Will gives her estate to Mr Andre.
So is Katie Price correct?
Although technically the answer is yes, in practical terms no assets will in fact pass to Mr Andre.
The effect of a divorce on a will is that any gift made to a spouse will take effect, but as if that spouse had died at the date of the decree absolute. This means that in the event of Ms Price’s death, her assets would indeed pass to Mr Andre’s estate, however at this stage the law would apply the same rules as if he in fact had already died.
Because he would legally be “dead”, the inheritance then falls back to the reserve terms of the will, which usually means back into the residuary estate. It is unclear whether Ms Price made any further distributions, for example specific gifts to her children or parents, or whether the failed gifts would pass to other beneficiaries under the intestacy provisions. If Mr Andre was the only named beneficiary in the will the share he would have been entitled to would pass in accordance with the intestacy provisions. In this case Ms Price’s latest husband may also have a claim to her estate.
The complications further increase with the complexity of Ms Price’s family life
Ms Price has re-married twice since 2009. The legal effect of marriage is to revoke any existing will. Therefore although Ms Price’s current will purports to leave everything to Mr Andre it has in fact been revoked by virtue of her two further marriages. So again Mr Andre would not be the beneficiary under Mr Price’s will if she were to die. Although the marriage revokes the will so far as Mr Andre is concerned, if there is no other provision made her assets would fall to the latest husband by virtue of the intestacy provisions – unless of course there were substitute beneficiaries.
A complicated scenario and one which leaves none of Ms Price’s family in a position of security, particularly so when one considers the particular needs of her disabled son Harvey.
What should Katie do next?
As seen from the above scenario, families are complicated and the repercussions of a marriage, remarriage or divorce are increasingly complex when it comes to wills. Whenever you experience a significant life event such as birth, death, marriage or divorce seek a professional review of your will. Your wishes may still be reflected in your existing one but it’s always worth checking. You can find here 5 powerful reasons to have and update a will.
Your life may not have as many twists and turns as Katie Price’s but the safeguarding of your children and the distribution of your estate according to your wishes must surely be a priority and seeking professional advice could save your dependents from significant stress and potential law suits in the future.
If you would like to want to update an existing will or seek advice or assistance drafting a new will, please contact Jigna Varsani by email email@example.com. Alternatively, Jigna can be reached on 020 7388 1658.
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Jigna Varsani, Solicitor