21st May 2015

Starting Over

How many weddings have you been to this summer? And how different are they to the ones you attended years ago? It’s not just fashion or the lavishness or individuality of the event - it’s often the ages of the happy couple.

Recent ONS statistics show the mean age at marriage is now mid 30s and the biggest percentage increase in the number of weddings is among the over 60s with a 21% increase in numbers of women in this age group marrying. This indicates that many couples marrying today are doing so second time round or after a previous long term relationship.

When starting over with a new partner or spouse couples often look to a new home to mark their new life together and perhaps house a blended family. Good friends walked down the aisle this summer with 4 kids, 3 cats a dog and a grandson between them they certainly didn’t have first time around. If not buying a new home many couples at least look to put an existing property into joint names for the security of both and to make sure that inheritance issues are properly addressed.

Joint ownership of a property can be set up in two ways; a joint tenancy which means the co-owners have a half share each which will be inherited by the other if one of them dies and a tenancy in common. The tenancy in common is likely to be interesting to a couple who’re starting over as they can identify their respective shares in the property according to what financial contribution they have each made. Importantly that share can then be dealt with in their Will – perhaps left to a child. There are no hard and fast rules – every couple has to work out what’s right for them and their family. Another important element of planning when starting over is the pre-nuptial or cohabitation agreement. Sitting down when everything’s rosy and agreeing what’s fair and acceptable if things don’t stay that way can save heartache if life doesn’t work out how you’d hoped.

We think it’s so important that if we make your Will or act for you in any residential property transaction – that’s a sale, purchase or property transfer – we will give you a 20% discount on your pre-nuptial or co-habitation agreement.

Carolynn Peace is head of Berwins’ CQS accredited Residential Property team. Call her on 01423 54311 or email Carolynnpeace@berwin.co.uk.

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