Whilst Solicitors are usually people to visit for challenging time, Peter Gibson from Coles Solicitors explains why every couple planning properly should make an appointment to see a Solicitor in the lead up to their celebration.
A marriage or civil partnership is a legal process and unbeknown to many the act of getting married has the automatic effect of revoking a Will prepared before that marriage. To ensure that your wishes take effect as you would wish in the event of the death of one of the happy couple a new Will prepared “in contemplation of the intended marriage” will ensure that the wedding does not revoke the Will. So before you jet away on honeymoon a quick appointment with your solicitor to ensure that in the unlikely event of tragedy that your wishes are respected is a must.
It is not exactly a romantic or joyous task you may think but an essential one never the less. Hopefully a Will would not be required for a very long time but it is part of that commitment to protect your new partner. Ask yourself this question – have you got life insurance if you own a house with a mortgage? This is planning for exactly the same eventuality and is taken out for exactly the same reason, to protect our loved ones if the worst should happen.
We list below 5 reasons why you really need to make a Will:
Reason 1 – No Automatic Right
There is a misconception that a spouse would automatically inherit everything. This is not the case and they would be relying on the Intestacy Rules rather than forward planning. This is even more essential if you have children as the spouse will potentially get even less and may even mean that the family home has to be sold or court proceedings issued to allow the spouse to remain in the family home. The only way of ensuring that your spouse inherits fully is to make a Will. As well as losing a life partner, would you want your new spouse or partner to suffer unnecessary hardship and administrative burdens when it is easy to do something about it?
Reason 2 – Modern Family Structure
Modern families often include children or children from previous relationships and if a surviving partner did inherit your entire estate there is a long lifetime ahead of them when they may enter a new relationship, have further children or become frivolous with the money. That sports car they may have always wanted and 5* hotels can suddenly become appealing! Under a Will, safeguards can be put in place to secure inheritance for my children and, indeed, for any future children you have together.
Reason 3 – Children
If you have children you may want to appoint guardians to avoid a conflict in the family and ensure people with the same values and beliefs are responsible for parenting them if you were unable to. Your own parents may be too old, siblings may have their own hands full with their families and your friends who know your children may not agree to do it!
Reason 4 – An Existing Will is Automatically Cancelled
Although you may have a previous Will, this is automatically revoked by a marriage unless a Will is prepared in anticipation of a marriage (and this is stated in the Will itself) then a marriage or civil partnership means a new Will has to be signed even if the terms are to stay the same.
Reason 5 – The In Laws
If something happened to both of you in an accident, without a Will and you have no children then everything we own may go to the youngest partner’s family as they are deemed to die second. Whilst you may enjoy a good relationship with your in laws, under a Will you can state what is to happen in that scenario and divide things fairly.
Therefore, whilst it may not be the focus of glossy wedding magazines or on the top of every couples list of priorities when they first get engaged, when making that commitment to each other make a Will. This could either be as part of the wedding planning itself in anticipation of marriage or soon afterward when the Thank You cards are out and the photographs are eagerly awaited. Wills are not as complex and do not cost as much as most people think and would be a sensible first step into a lifelong partnership together.
Unless you are moving house, which we at Coles can help you with, we hope you don’t need to call upon us for the difficult things in life, but a little planning now can save a whole lot of headaches in the future.
Many thanks to Coles Solicitors for this article