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Clarke & Son Blog

Valentines Day – Love and the Law

Andrea Boulter, Head of Family Law –

On this most romantic day of the year, you may have received a marriage proposal today or be in the throes of organising your big day.  Amongst all the excitement, be aware that there may be things you need to discuss to secure perfect financial harmony in the future:

Make a Will

Any Will you make before getting married is automatically revoked by law on the day you get married.  The one exception to this rule is where your will contains a clause stating that you wish your will to remain valid after your marriage to a particular named person.

Therefore, in most instances, in order to ensure that your estate is divided as you wish, you should make a new Will upon getting married. If you do not make a new Will you will be treated as intestate and the law sets out who will inherit your estate; this should be avoided if at all possible. It is particularly important to make a new Will if you have children, if this is your second marriage or if you have children from a previous marriage or relationship.

Consider a Prenuptial agreement

A prenuptial agreement is an agreement entered into before marriage and outlines how a couple wish to divide their assets should they get divorced. A post-nuptial agreement is similar but is entered into after marriage. Entering into a marital agreement does not mean that you expect your marriage to fail. It simply sets out in writing what should happen to each person’s assets and finances if the marriage breaks down. It gives you both the opportunity to agree in advance what is fair. Before entering in to a prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement, both parties should exchange financial information and obtain independent legal advice. Prenuptial agreements are particularly important if you are going into a second marriage, are more financially secure than your new partner or there are step-children involved.

Declarations of trust

This could assist if you are given or loaned a sum of money by, for example, your parents to put down as a deposit on your new marital home.  A declaration of trust would state whether the money is for both you and your partner, whether it is a loan or a gift. It is a good way of setting out legally the situation, should issues arise later on.

Apply for step-parent parental responsibility

If one or both of you bring children into the marriage from previous relationships, you and your partner may love those children as if they were your own. However, it is necessary to remember that as a step-parent, you will not automatically have parental responsibility for step-children. This means that you can’t make certain decisions for them for example with regards to education and medical treatment. To rectify this problem, you could apply for step-parent parental responsibility.

So, on this most romantic day of the year and if you are newly engaged, please celebrate, but remember these are important factors to consider.

If you have a query or would like to book an appointment please get in touch with our First Contact team on 01256 320555 or email mail@clarkeandson.co.uk

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