This week at Anthony Gold is Covid-19 and Weddings week. Experts from our Family and Trusts & Estates department will be discussing the impact Covid-19 has had on weddings. They will also provide information on pre-nuptial and co-habitation agreements and about the importance of having a will even if you are married.

This is how the week is structured:

Monday – Has Covid-19 delayed your wedding?

Tuesday – Pre-nuptial Agreements

Wednesday – The effect marriage has on the succession of property on death – to include the effect marriage has on current wills and on the laws of intestacy

Thursday – FAQs – Co-hab agreements if wedding delayed due to Covid-19

Friday – Why you should still have a Will even if you're married

The today's post, Carrie Duncan, a Partner at Anthony Gold, speaks about ”Has Covid-19 delayed your wedding?”

According to the wedding app Bridebook, over 1/3 of weddings scheduled for 2020 will not take place this year.

Since lockdown began on 23 March, weddings have been banned and, although the restrictions were eased in England on 4 July to allow ceremonies with up to 30 guests, disruption within the industry will continue for months to come. Wedding receptions are still prohibited, communal singing should be avoided, fathers will not be able to walk their daughters down the aisle...

As a result, many couples now face the stress of trying to plan a small, socially distanced wedding or rescheduling for next year, or beyond, in the hope that restrictions will have relaxed sufficiently and their chosen venue has enough availability to allow them to host the wedding they have always dreamed of.

If yours is one of the 100,000+ UK weddings postponed as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, Wills are unlikely to be at the forefront of your mind right now. But it really is important to add "reviewing my Will" to your "things to do before I say I do list".

Despite common misconception, there is no such thing as a 'common law spouse'. Unmarried couples do not have the same rights as married couples and, if you die without having made a valid Will, the statutory law of intestacy will apply. This means that, for as long as you remain intestate and unmarried, your partner will receive nothing.

Whilst it is possible for an unmarried cohabitee to make a claim for reasonable financial provision from the estate of their partner, the legislation governing the claim is not quite as generous as it is for married couples.

And this is not the sort of legacy you are likely to want to leave to your loved ones. Expensive and potentially damaging litigation like this could be avoided with a properly drafted Will.

Coronavirus aside, reviewing your Will should always be a part of your 'wedmin'. Marriage will automatically revoke your Will which could mean that the statutory laws of intestacy will determine who inherits your estate. A solicitor can help to write your will 'in contemplation of marriage' so that, if made with your intended marriage in mind, the Will can survive the marriage.

Having a valid Will is particularly important in the case of second marriages or where there are children from a previous relationship who could stand to be completely disinherited by a subsequent marriage. In cases like these, a testator may wish to consider the use of a life interest trust. This will ensure that their spouse is provided for after their death, but that the capital is protected so that, on the death of their spouse, all or some of it can pass to children from an earlier relationship.

Originally published 13 July, 2020

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.