Services
People
News and Events
Other
Blogs

Getting Engaged Over Christmas? Please Consider This.....

View profile for James Chalkley
  • Posted
  • Author

The festive period is the most popular time of year for marriage proposals, with Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve both popular choices.

Christmas Day surpasses even Valentine's Day as the day that most proposals occur.

If you are thinking of popping the question as well as popping a few corks this year, it is worth considering the legal implications.

I know; it doesn't sound very romantic, does it? But have you never heard the phrase 'Marry in haste, repent at leisure'? OK, maybe I'm painting a bit of a gloomy picture. Let's start again….

Congratulations on your engagement; what an exciting time!

Sometimes in the anticipation to plan the fun parts of the wedding, such as colour-schemes, food and attire, it can be easy to forget some of the less exciting- yet important- considerations.

Wills

Whilst a marriage will revoke and make void any existing will (unless made in contemplation of marriage - see below), you may wish to consider the position of the fiancé(e).

A fiancé(e) does not have any special standing in this area of the law and may not have a say in important matters following the death of their partner. They also may not be provided for in the absence of a will. The rules of intestacy (when a person dies without a valid will in place) do not provide for such a relationship.  A co-habiting partner who does not jointly own the property with the deceased may find themselves homeless under the rules of intestacy.

Therefore, a well written will can help to avoid this situation and ensure that the fiancé(e) is provided for, should the worst happen.

You may wish to create a 'will in contemplation of marriage' so that your fiancé(e) is provided for prior to the marriage and, following the wedding, you will not have to create a new will from scratch.

It is recommended that you speak to a wills specialist when considering this tricky area of law.

Weddings Abroad

Many couples decide to tie the knot abroad. What's not to love about a beach wedding; guaranteed sun, cocktails and the honeymoon is a few short steps away.

However, as a marriage is a legally binding event, there will be documentation that must be completed, some of it before you leave the UK. It is vital that you check the specific requirements particular to the country where you will be getting married. Countries differ on what is required to prove that there is no objection to you getting married. You may need to bring certification from the UK.

A Notary or other legal expert may be able to offer you advice in this area. If you have booked your holiday/wedding through a travel agency, the agency may be able to offer you help regarding the documents you need to take.

Pre-nuptial Agreements

Is there anything less romantic than talk of a pre-nuptial agreement? When a wedding is being planned it can be a difficult conversation to have with your fiancé(e). No-one wants to think about separation and the dissolution of the relationship before the marriage has even begun.

Once considered to be the reserve of the rich and famous, the pre-nup (to use the layman's term) is now more applicable to a wider range of people. For example, as some people get married later in life, they may come to new relationships already owning considerable assets. They may also have obligations from previous marriages and children. Safeguarding their interests is essential.

Other people that may benefit from having a pre-nup in place include those that have or are likely to receive a large inheritance, business owners, and land owners.

While a pre-nup can be useful to have in place, it does not automatically mean that it cannot be overturned by the courts on a divorce in certain circumstances.

It is essential that you take legal advice from a qualified solicitor who specialises in such matters.

If you would like to discuss your will as you are considering marriage, please contact the Private Client team on 01245 228125 or PrivateClientEnq@gepp.co.uk and one of the team will guide you through the next steps.

They will also be able to put you in touch with someone from our Family Department if you would like to talk about a prenuptial agreement.

This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.