A momentous shift in social policy took place on Thursday 7 December 2017. That change brings with it the potential for unintended legal consequences for the LGBT community. The ability to marry for same sex couples, for the first time means that in some cases they need to consider the unintended consequences that marriage might have on their estate plan in Queensland.

If a will was made prior to being married, which is the case for every member to the LGBT community, the act of marriage will cancel their will. The only part of the Will that survives is a gift to their spouse and the appointment of that spouse as executor and a power of appointment, unless the Will has been made in contemplation of the marriage, unlikely given the uncertainty that has surrounded this topic for the better part of a decade. The act of taking up the right of professing their love for their spouse could have catastrophic consequences.

The same is true in relation to enduring powers of attorney. While the appointment of the spouse survives the marriage, the appointment of any other person as an alternative or backup attorney will not survive. Again, this can lead to catastrophic consequences.

While the LGBT community and many others are rejoicing in this momentous social change, and rightly so. Anyone getting married whether same sex or heterosexual should take this opportunity to review their estate planning, especially if they are planning to get married in the New Year.

Should you require assistance with your new estate plan or require a lawyer to assist you with updating your current estate plan, please contact us as we will be able to provide you with a fixed price for the work required.