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Wedding bells and will making

As lock down restrictions begin to ease, engaged couples up and down the country are looking forward to their weddings, many of which have had to be postponed due to the pandemic.

Although pre-wedding “to do” lists will be extensive, they may not include making Wills!

However, couples do need to bear in mind that their wedding will automatically revoke any Will which they might previously have made, even if they wish its terms to remain in force. Fortunately, a Will can be made expressed as being in anticipation of the wedding and with the intention that the ceremony should not revoke it, in which case its terms will still hold good.

This means that couples do have the opportunity to plan ahead.

This can be particularly important for those more mature couples, many of whom may have been married previously and who might have children from those previous relationships. They need to bear in mind that the consequence of an existing Will being revoked may be that their new spouse inherits everything on their demise, with there being nothing left for their children.

Or, at the other end of the spectrum, it may be that the consequence of the intestacy provisions will be to leave their spouse inadequately provided for in the context of their lifestyle and that the absence of a Will could result in a claim being made against the estate by their widow or widower.

It is very important that such couples take specialist advice on both how best to make an appropriate full provision for their spouse, whilst at the same time protecting the interests of their children from previous relationships. Newspapers regularly feature reports on Court cases where a failure to do so has resulted in costly litigation.

Whilst again not very romantic, a Pre-Nuptial Agreement may be worth considering as well. This is an agreement which sets out clearly how assets should be divided between a couple if their marriage were to unfortunately end in divorce. These again can be particularly relevant to older couples who have had the opportunity of building up assets through their working lives, but can also be very relevant to younger couples, who may have received gifts from parents and family. Contrary to popular belief, Pre-Nuptial Agreements are not only for Premier League footballers!

So, whilst choosing floral arrangements and wedding breakfast menus may be far more uplifting and enjoyable, marriage has a significant impact on an individual’s assets and how these might be distributed on a separation or on death and taking specialist advice as to how to address such matters is time well spent.