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Roses Are Red, Violets Are Blue, Romance is Fine But Let's Be Practical, Too

View profile for Angela Killa
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As we celebrate Santes Dwynwen Day (the Welsh love saint’s day), Valentine’s Day, or both, many of us will be looking forward to celebrating with the ones we love with traditional chocolates and flowers. However, as unromantic as it may sound, once you have been hit by Cupid’s arrow, it is important to talk about getting your affairs in order so you don’t have to fret about the practicalities of your relationship.

Here is our lovers checklist of legal matters you might want to put to bed:

Make a Will – Everyone should make a Will, even younger couples and especially where there are children. A Will makes it much more likely that your wishes will be adhered to should the worst happen and a properly-prepared Will saves a lot of stress for loved ones left behind. It is very common now for people to be part of quite complex blended families, and to have property, business and/or pensions to consider. So even if you don’t think you have vast assets, you may, in fact, have a fairly substantial estate to bequeath. We recommend to our clients that they review their Will every three years, to keep it relevant, and any major changes in your circumstances, such as a new relationship, should prompt you to do this too.

Lasting Powers of Attorney – This is another legal document that can bring great peace of mind and it is very sensible to get one in order while you are healthy. An LPA document allows you to appoint an attorney to act for you in the event that you can no longer deal with your property and financial affairs yourself. For example, this document could allow you to legally access each other’s bank accounts in case of an emergency. There is no limit to the number of Attorneys who can be appointed by you, and you can specify whether the Attorneys have to act together or independently. You can only set up an LPA while you still have mental capacity to do this.

Prenuptial Agreement – People used to think a pre-nup was deeply unromantic. But, in fact, a pre-nup can bring an added sense of security and stability to all parties. They can be especially useful for second marriages. A pre-nup is simply an agreement between the adults in an intended marriage that seeks to clearly regulate their financial affairs in the event of a relationship breakdown. As long as the agreement reached is fair to both parties it can be used to help ring-fence some assets from potentially being dragged into divorce proceedings as a matrimonial asset. If you are planning to tie the knot, a pre-nup might help you to get the money stuff out of the way and to focus upon your big day.

Living together agreements - Couples who live together often have legitimate concerns about what would happen to them legally and financially if they were to split from their partner. A Cohabitation Agreement can help you settle some key points so you can put some of this worry behind you. Cohabitation Agreements are popular with those entering into relationships where either party already has assets, such as a house or savings, and where there are children involved whose interests you are trying to protect. The agreement must be reached after both parties have taken independent legal advice and you must both agree on the detail of the document.

Buying a house together - Buying a house is one of the biggest purchases you will make in life. It is important, if you are making this investment with a partner, and particularly if one of you is able to offer a bigger financial stake at the outset, that you settle upon the right legal agreement regarding ownership. For example, you may want to consider buying the house as Tenants in Common or entering into a Declaration of Trust, so each owner has their distinct share of the property.

For tailored advice on any of these topics, please contact Angela Killa, Director in the Family team at JCP Solicitors on 03333 208 644 or email