Leigh-On-Sea - Legal Eagle

August 8, 2016 by Melinda Giles

When I was asked to write my first monthly column for leigh-on-sea.com in August I must admit to feeling a bit challenged; who wants to read about problems and serious stuff whilst the sun is shining in our lovely seaside town? Strolling along the Broadway on a Saturday afternoon I stopped and watched a charming wedding emerge from the church; a beautiful bride with her handsome groom surrounded by happy friends and family. I tried to remain in the moment, but the old cynic in me wondered whether it was all as straightforward as it looked? Were the little bridesmaids her daughters? His daughters? Their daughters? Where did they live? Her house? his house? Their house? Or had one of the grandparents given a large deposit for a new place?

That’s what lawyers do. We can’t help it. Always look below the surface and if consulted at the right time hopefully put the stuff in place that makes those lovely happy occasions be exactly that.

Who cares whose children they are actually, or whose house they live in? No-one - what we all hope is that the new family unit works well for everyone in sickness and in health, for better for worse, till death do us part. And that’s the problem. We can get sick, money does come into things, and people do die.

So, what legal advice would I give to a couple who are planning their wedding? Simples; draw a family tree, write a list of what you own individually and together, and make an appointment to see a solicitor; one who can give you advice on making a Will that takes into account all the potential eventualities; any previous Will is invalid once you marry but a new one can be made in contemplation of the wedding. This is hugely important for those who have children from a previous relationship, or for anyone who does not want the whole of their estate to pass to their partner’s family.

Share with the solicitor the honest facts about money and property. Does someone else have a financial interest in your home? Do you and your partner need to document the different contributions that you made? Do you want to transfer a property into joint names? Take advice; wrongly done, this can lead to expensive problems. And by the way, all this applies to those of you who don’t fancy the marriage route too.

Previously divorced? Scarred by the process? It costs money to make a Pre-Nuptial agreement but it is no longer considered unromantic to discuss and agree upon the division of assets that you brought to your marriage. It is too late afterwards to face this difficult discussion. A new marriage could affect previously agreed arrangements for your children or maintenance payments received or due by you. And for those of you who are reading this and smiling away at my well disguised cynicism; just remember that there is one undisputed benefit of being married; you save a ton in inheritance tax.

Til next month…..

This article is by Melinda Giles of Giles Wilson Solicitors 
Shortlisted for Solicitor of the Year in Private Practice at the Law Society Excellence Awards 2016

For any legal advice please call Melinda on 01702 477 106 or arrange a visit at one of their three offices; 1711 London Road Leigh, 54 Leigh Broadway, 5 Roche Close Rochford.
Website: http://www.gileswilson.co.uk
Twitter: https://twitter.com/GilesWilsonLLP
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GilesWilsonSolicitors


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