Did You Get Engaged on Valentine’s Day?

Research undertaken last year found that 1.8 million Brits were hoping that their partner would propose on Valentine’s Day and earlier research has shown that in just over one fifth of couples the proposal had been made on the 14 February.

If you got engaged this Valentine’s Day then as well as starting to think about venues, caterers, or colour schemes you might want to spend some time thinking about the legal and financial implications of getting married. As you take your first steps on life’s journey together, your lives will become more intertwined and the decisions you make will impact on your joint futures. Here are our top 3 tips for getting it right:

Update your will

You may not know that marrying or entering a civil partnership automatically revokes any will that you have previously made, unless it was made in contemplation of marriage. Many people assume that once they are married if they die their estate will automatically all pass to the other but that isn’t always the case. Therefore you should think about updating your will after you get married or enter a civil partnership. Many couples choose to have mirror wills, called that as they reflect the terms of the other party.

This can be a good starting point to sit down and have an open discussion about your hopes and aspirations for your future together, as well as helping ensure you have a sound understanding of your respective financial positions before taking such a significant step. 

Have a Marital Agreement

With many people deciding to marry later in life, or for a second time, the old saying, “What’s mine is yours”, may not be aligned with what you both want and perceive is fair as a couple. A Marital Agreement, also known as a Pre or Post Nuptial Agreement, depending on whether it is made before or after the marriage or civil partnership, can identify assets that you both wish to protect, as well as provide security for your children in the event of relationship breakdown in the future.

As the cost of a wedding reaches an average of £30,000, you may decide to take out insurance to cover you if there is a problem with the photographer, the dress or other arrangements that could affect your dream day. That insurance is taken out not because you believe or want something to go wrong, but because something might happen and as a consequence the wedding cant go ahead. A Marital Agreement is another form of insurance, giving you the peace of mind whatever happens you both would be secure in the future.

Make sure your home is built on the right foundations

Buying a first property together or buying a bigger house to start a family is a really exciting step, however, it is important to get the legalities right. When you buy a property together, whether you are married or not, you will be asked to decide whether you want to hold your beneficial interest in the property as joint tenants or tenants in common. With a joint tenancy you can only have equal interests in the property and if you die your interest in the property will automatically pass to the other owner, no matter what any will you have made provides. With a tenancy in common you can have unequal shares in the property, usually to reflect different contributions and your interest in the property will pass in accordance with your will.

Often parents or grandparents will make a significant contribution to the deposit for a property and it is important to be clear about whether it is intended that money should be a gift to both of you, just to one of you or if the money is intended to be paid back at a later date. If you do intend that you should have different interests in the property to reflect different contributions then this should be bolstered by a Martial Agreement to make your intentions absolutely clear.

Whilst thinking about such matters might not feel romantic you are more likely to live happily ever if you get things off to the right start. Our specialist solicitors will guide you through the process and help you plan for your future, your way.

Posted on: 14/02/2019

This article is for general guidance only. It provides useful information in a concise form. Action should not be taken without obtaining specific legal advice.

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