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Marriage, civil partnership and long-term relationships are all reasons for the making a will. A will is an acknowledgement that you want to provide for your spouse or partner in a manner that is different to what the intestacy rules would dictate. That might be especially true for long-term couples who are not married or in civil partnerships, but who own a house together or otherwise have arrangements that would be disrupted if the intestacy rules were to apply.
Making a will may not be the first thing you think of when planning your wedding or civil partnership but you should be aware that your legal status changes upon marriage or civil partnership. Importantly, any former will is automatically revoked (cancelled) unless it incorporates special wording. It is therefore important to update any former will or create a new will when you enter into marriage or civil partnership.
When you have children you are likely to have two main concerns about what happens if you should die; who will look after them and what assets will be available to provide for their welfare. A will enables you to address both these points, as you can appoint guardians for your children and to allocate money and other assets by way of a trust for the benefit of your children.
If divorced or re-married, you’ll need to consider where your assets will end up if you do meet someone new; don’t assume your children will be safeguarded. Further thought is needed for those who are going through a change of circumstances; if you have previously made a will whilst married but are going through a divorce, think about whether you would still want that person to receive part of your estate.
As with all of the circumstances that change the course of our life – marriage, children, remarriage and stepchildren – a will needs to be revised and revisited as you move through life. Many solicitors suggest you do this every three to five years.
For those eligible bachelors and bachelorettes who are yet to settle down or have children, it is still important to consider where your estate will end up. Perhaps your parents are comfortable and siblings successful so you may consider leaving something to a favourite charity and in turn, reducing the amount of inheritance tax.
There is no inheritance tax to be paid between spouses and civil partners so even if you are not considering getting married to your partner, it may be worth thinking about walking down the aisle as a way of keeping your hard earned wealth in the family. Married couples and civil partners can leave their entire estate to their other half, and it will not be subject to inheritance tax.
For anything further, one of our specialists would be delighted to meet you either in our office or in your own home to talk through your requirements and answer any questions. Please contact us at any time.