3 August 2020
While small weddings and civil partnership ceremonies can take place, sadly the recently announced relaxation of allowing up to 30 people attend receptions has been put back until August 15th at the earliest.
Under the current rules, receptions can only be attended by up to six people outside or two households inside.
While some couples will want to continue with their weddings, not everyone will be willing to change how they want to mark their special day and many may well decide to delay their wedding until next year.
Although it does not sound very romantic, it is worth remembering that a marriage or civil partnership is a contract, which legally recognises your spouse or civil partner.
Couples who live together but who are not married or in a civil partnership are at a disadvantage as there is very little provision for cohabiting partners should one die.
Claire-Marie Selwood, who is a Wills and Probate Solicitor at Phillips Solicitors incorporating Brain Chase Coles explains: “Despite what many people think, there is no such thing as ‘Common Law Marriage’.”
“If you die without a Will, your estate will be governed by the Rules of Intestacy, and your life partner/cohabitee will not be classed as your next of kin. The Rules of Intestacy will determine how your property is divided and distributed irrespective of the number of years you have lived together. This could result in your estate being divided amongst your surviving family members to the exclusion of your life partner/cohabitee and this may not be what you would want to happen.”
“Therefore, I would strongly advise cohabiting couples who are postponing their wedding or civil partnerships to make a Will.”
“This is an important way to protect each other in the event of a death.”
Ordinarily, a Will made prior to marriage is automatically revoked once the marriage has taken place unless the Will is explicitly made in contemplation of that marriage.
“We can easily arrange for a Will to be drafted with a clause that incorporates the intention to marry or form a civil partnership. This means you don’t have to wait until after you are married to make your Will,” said Claire-Marie.
Wills are very important documents, particularly if you have children aged under 18. They can provide legal guardians for your children should the worst happen to you and your partner. The Intestacy Rules do not provide guidance on this area.
Claire-Marie said: “Wills provide clarity and peace of mind. If you are not sure when your wedding of civil partnership will take place, you can use the time in the lead up to your delayed nuptials to make suitable provision for your future spouse or civil partner.”
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During these difficult times our Town Gate office in Basingstoke is temporarily closed to visitors unless by prior appointment when meeting in person is essential. However, thanks to our lawyers being able to work remotely, Phillips remains fully open for business and can discuss your legal matters by telephone and video conference.
This article is current at the date of publication set out above and is for reference purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied on as such. Specific legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be sought separately before taking any action.
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