Bridal Club Magazine
Marriage and Your Will
By Ian Mellett, B Comm, LLB, H Dip
Your wedding is approaching, your bridesmaids' and groom's
outfits are finalised, the church and reception venue is booked and
every item on that all important "checklist" has been ticked or
scheduled as you plan the wedding of your dreams.
In preparing for your wedding, your focus is on the beginning of
a new adventure with a special someone. The last thing you want to
think about is death and Wills … but you should! Marriage is a
life-altering event that forces you to make all kinds of changes.
As you prepare for your new life together, you should both sit down
and be realistic about the future and the fact that none of us
Your Will is an important legal document - a document that
ensures that your assets are bequeathed to those persons or
entities you wish to benefit from your estate. It is essential that
everyone over the age of 18 years should have a Will.
A person must be at least 16 years of age to get married. If
either party is 16 or 17 years old, then they must obtain parental
or guardian consent to enter into a marriage. And any person who
has been married or is currently married should have a Will.
If you die without a will (intestate), legislation determines
who gets your assets. These may be divided differently to the way
you would have wished, and the process may also take longer and be
more expensive for the loved ones you leave behind.
As a general rule, it is good practice to review your Will on a
regular basis. Life takes its course and circumstances change. A
regular review will ensure your Will is up to date and written for
your current situation.
Getting Married and the impact on your current
The advent of a new marriage invalidates all Wills made before
the date of marriage, such previous Wills being automatically
revoked. Specific provision can however be made in a Will for the
contemplation of marriage. This wording needs to be carefully
documented to ensure that the Will remains valid once the marriage
has taken place.
Signing of your Will
It is paramount that your Will is executed correctly and that
you ensure that all the necessary legalities are complied with.
Your Will cannot be witnessed by an executor of the Will or anyone
who will benefit under the Will. It is recommended that you
seek professional advice in this regard. Your professional adviser
can guide you through the process and ensure that you do not make
any mistakes that could become costly in the long run or, worse
yet, result in you having an invalid Will.
What else should you consider?
A milestone such as a marriage should prompt you to review your
Estate Planning. Too often we view estate planning only in terms of
investments, property, finances and assets. Yes, it is all of these
things. However, the focus of proper estate planning should also be
the people who will benefit from your efforts and your legacy. This
may be yourself in the long term, or your loved ones after your
death. Failure to do this can have negative consequences for all
Ian Mellett, BComm., LLB, H. Dip. Tax, is a Barrister and
Solicitor at Quay Law in Auckland. Quay Law provides services in
Wills and Estate administration, Estate Planning, Trusts and Asset
Protection, Relationship Property, as well as Conveyancing,
Commercial, Immigration and other areas of law.
♥ This article was kindly supplied by
Wedding New Zealand's Premier Wedding