For Richer, For Poorer, In sickness and in health, I do.... (again)
Summertime is the traditional time for weddings but this summer I thought i'd focus on second marriages and relationships and the particular legal issues that can occur.
When a couple get together later in life they usually have some baggage! This may well be happy baggage – lovely children, or a beautiful family home, but baggage it still is, and in the midst of busy family and working lives, or the rush of new love, it is easy not to get yourselves to the lawyers. But you should!
Where will you live as a couple?
The law is different if you choose to co-habit, so if you marry and this is both in terms of splitting up or one party dying.
If you choose to buy a new home to share, obtain advice on the form of joint ownership – the shares that you have in that property as you may have contributed different amounts of money.
This may matter to you if you want to ensure that your children receive your share if you die, and on that note….
Marriage invalidates your Will
If you marry having made a Will leaving all your estate to your children, then you will need to make a new one. It is not essential to leave everything to your spouse in your Will but you will need advice to ensure that the will both provides for your spouse and also secures your estate for your children if you still want this. Perhaps you have sentimental items that you wish to ensure go to your children and not to your spouse because they were from your family?
And what about the money/assets that you accumulate during your marriage? Or who will be your Executor – maybe you would like both your adult children and your new partner to jointly decide on things after your death? These are different relationships than when you are married to the parent of your children.
Lots of older couples look to Equity Release to realise cash in their valuable properties and this is often the case in a new romance when it is fun to go on great holidays or to afford a decent lifestyle. But again, it is so important that you go into these arrangements with eyes wide open as there are side effects to them!
Who do you want to look after your affairs if you become unable to?
Again, this is a trickier question if you are with someone other than your children’s parent – sometimes there is a clash, and sometimes there is a lack of trust particularly with finances. Make a Power of Attorney but do so carefully and think of all angles of who you would put in charge of your money and your property and where they would have a conflict of interest. Sometimes, it is wiser to choose someone independent.
Who will make decisions about your health and your end of life care?
You hope that you have now found the person to enjoy the rest of your life with. It is worth having those frank discussions to make sure that you each understand how that is to end and what sort of treatment you want for yourself. Make those sensitive wishes known and appoint the right person (perhaps a partner, or perhaps one or more of your children) by a Lasting Power of Attorney for Health.
Basically the advice is to get a legal MOT when you decide to take that plunge into a 2nd relationship – make sure that your baggage comes along intact and protected!
For legal advice please call 01702 477 106 or visit one of Giles Wilson's offices: 1711 London Road Leigh, 54 Leigh Broadway, 5 Roche Close Rochford
To put question forward to Melinda @ Giles Wilson Solciitors please email firstname.lastname@example.org