Top legal tips before saying ‘I do’

  • Insight

10 April 2019

With spring underway and summer on the horizon, we’re in peak wedding planning season.  When it comes to planning your big day and future life together, there’s much more to it than saying ‘I do’.  Legal advice from a specialist family lawyer can help you deal with some of the most common pre-wedding questions:

• Where will we live?

• Do we need a pre-nup?

• Who’s paying for the wedding?

• What about the future?

Home

A new home for married life together is exciting. If you are already a homeowner, consider the practicalities…which can be everything from who paid the deposit to the equity growth in the property. How will you apportion this when buying your next property together? You might already have a home, in your own name. What happens now you are married? Find out more about the ins and outs of home ownership and cohabiting in our previous article ‘Buying a house together, do I need a pre-purchase agreement?’  

Pre-nuptial agreements

They really aren’t just for the rich and famous! Pre-marriage assets can be protected in a pre-nup. They can include as many, or as few, assets as the couple wish, for example, inheritance or a family business. They should always be ‘bespoke contracts’ for the parties signing them.

Wedding costs

The average cost of a wedding in the UK is now said to be £25,000. Even if both parties are working full time, it can be a small fortune by any standards. How will you pay for your wedding and have you discussed a plan for the repayments? Did you borrow from the ‘bank of mum and dad’? Documenting a gift or a loan can be an easy way to ensure everyone is clear on the repayment or acceptance of a sum of money.

Children

Are you hoping to have a family? How much will bringing up the children cost? Who will be the guardians in the event something happens to you, and how will your estate and possessions be distributed? Do you have children from a previous relationship?

Taking care of your future

Planning your wedding might not feel like the moment to think the unthinkable, but planning for the future, if one of you is no longer here, is a must. Making a will means you can be sure your wishes are carried out. If you already have a will in place, then review the terms of any previous will to make sure it still reflects your wishes.

Having a Power of Attorney in place allows your spouse to look after your finances and welfare should you ever become incapable of doing so, even if that is temporary e.g. illness, travel abroad.

For more information regarding wills and incapacity, read our article ’It’s wedding season - to love and to cherish, till death us do part‘.

Post wedding

There is a surprising amount of work to be done after you are married. Are you changing your name? If so, you will have to change your legal name on bank accounts, HMRC, driver’s license, passport and any insurance policies.

Don’t forget to apply for a marriage license at least 29 days before the big day! And after the ceremony, remember to register the marriage!! If you are heading off on honeymoon immediately, leave the documents with a responsible adult who you can trust to register the marriage.