When divorce isn’t the end

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Recent headlines have shown just how expensive litigation can be when love is lost. Johnny Depp was awarded damages in the amount of US$10.4m in his defamation claim against ex‑wife, Amber Heard.

You may have completed a property settlement or divorce with your former spouse and think that is the end of your connection. In some circumstances, a former spouse can make a claim for provision from your estate in New South Wales.

You can approach the Supreme Court of New South Wales to approve releases in each other’s estates. By taking this step you will be providing your loved ones with peace of mind that you have done what you can to minimise the risk of expensive litigation after your death. For more information on this process, see our earlier blog post, ‘Releasing rights to make a family provision claim’.

It is not just what happens after you die that can be an issue. Our earlier blog post, ‘What happens if…?‘ demonstrates the legal effect of divorce on your estate planning documents, including your power of attorney and appointment of enduring guardian documents. It is important to note that any automatic revocations of your estate planning documents only take place once a divorce has been granted and not on separation.

If you want to ensure that your former spouse is not entitled to act for you upon your incapacity and is removed from your will upon separation, it is important to seek legal advice about the steps you need to take to give effect to your wishes. Call the team at de Groots on (07) 3221 9744, (02) 9101 7000 or (03) 9975 7321 and one of our lawyers would be pleased to assist you.

KATE DONNAN

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