I DO! But what should you legally do when you get engaged?
Did you know that there is a legal duty once married to financially maintain one another?
You probably didn’t – it’s not something that’s generally discussed. You can arrange your finances as you wish so you can have joint accounts or you can keep your finances separate or a mixture of the two. The duty to maintain each other simply means that should one of you have insufficient income for whatever reason, the spouse must provide.
Did you also know that if either of you have made Wills before your marriage, and which do not specifically refer to your marriage to your fiancé, the Will is automatically revoked (cancelled)? Unless you made another Will after your wedding, you would die intestate (without a valid Will) and the intestacy rules would govern who would inherit after your death. Those rules may not reflect your wishes. For example, depending on the value of your estate, your estate would not automatically pass entirely to your surviving spouse. In addition, the rules treat all your children equally (which you might not want) and they do not include friends or charities.
The best solution is to make a Will in contemplation of your marriage. This is a Will which states that you are intending to marry a named person and that your Will is valid as soon as it is signed and witnessed. Importantly, it also states that the Will is not revoked once you marry your fiancé. You therefore do not need to make a new Will after your marriage – unless you want to change your appointed Executors or your beneficiaries, of course!
I mentioned that there is a duty to provide for your spouse during marriage. Although there is no direct equivalent after death, if you have not made adequate provision in your Will for your surviving spouse, then a claim may be made against your estate after your death. This is to be avoided. It is often very distressing for your Executors and family and the ill feeling can last for years. It can also be very expensive.
You should review your current Will and indeed it always a good idea to check your Will after any major life event, birth of children, death of anyone who is a beneficiary under your Will etc...
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I specialise in Wills, Powers of Attorney, mental capacity issues, probate, estate planning and Court of Protection and affairs of the elderly, contentious probate.