Chamberlains have put together a list all newlyweds need to do. It may not be as fun as finding your special outfit or sampling wedding cakes, but it will ensure you and your spouse are cared for. We guarantee it will cost less than the wedding and it has the added bonus that it doesn’t involve the in-laws (unless you want it to).

1. Have a Will.

Marriage revokes former Wills. If you have made a Will and later get married, that Will is revoked by virtue of the marriage (with only a few exceptions). Your spouse doesn’t ‘automatically’ get your estate. If you don’t make a new Will after marriage, you will die ‘intestate’, which means, dying without a will, which has its own set of troubles. This is not to say your spouse won’t have some automatic rights to your estate, they do, but to enforce those rights, they will have to go through a bit of a process that can be avoided by having a Will.

2. Get an Enduring Power of Attorney.

Marriage revokes former Powers of Attorney. If you have made a Power of Attorney nominating a person other than your spouse as an attorney unless it expressly states that the document is made in contemplation of marriage than that document will be void. Like Wills, your spouse is not ‘automatically’ your enduring attorney. This document is still needed to enable your spouse to make critical decisions if you have lost capacity. The alternative is a trip to the Guardianship Tribunal to get an order of the Tribunal to allow you to make decisions for your spouse.

3. Sort out your name.

If you are taking your partner’s name, be prepared for a bit of an administrative battle. It’s nothing that can’t be handled, so long as you are equipped with your marriage certificate, some faithful statutory declarations, certified copies of ID and a healthy dose of patience. Be mindful that many assets owned in your maiden name (e.g. property) do not need to be changed right away, if at all, however, you may have to prove your identity for any subsequent dealings (say, if you sold the property).

4. Look after your kids.

If you have or are planning to have kids, your Will should nominate a guardian in the event that you and your spouse predecease them. If you don’t, the matter goes to the Guardianship Tribunal for them to decide who the fit and proper person would be. Marriage may also mean welcoming your partner’s children as your own.

This implies a stepchild will have rights to make a claim against a stepparent if they have not been adequately provided for in their stepparents’ will. The success of a claim will depend on your circumstances, of course, but there is no way to ‘extinguish’ this right. Suppose you are planning your wedding. Congratulations. If you need advice concerning some post-wedding planning, get in touch with Chamberlains today.


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