Some Weddings Delayed Indefinitely Due To Lockdown Restrictions
Cancelled weddings and delayed celebrations could result in an influx of will disputes, specialist lawyers are warning.
A study by London-based wedding planning app, Bridebook, found that 64% of weddings in 2020 will be affected by coronavirus either by postponements, cancellations or travel logistics.
While the lockdown easing means weddings of up to 30 people have been able to take place since 4 July, any further lockdowns, either local or national, would cause more delays and cancellations.
Will dispute experts warn the postponements could cause issues if one of the couple dies, leaving their intended partner with no legal protection because they couldn’t get married.
Expert Opinion“Thousands of couples across the UK have had to postpone or even cancel their wedding altogether, which is a heart-breaking situation, and are then left wondering when it’s safe to go ahead with a new celebration.
“It’s not just young people getting married who have been affected either – there are second and third marriages taking place with older couples, who have also had to delay their weddings and may find themselves in a position where they’re open to will disputes if one of the partners dies.
“If couples are needing to wait to get married then this means we could see a rise in will disputes in the coming years, especially if people are dying without a will in place.” Ben Lyon - Solicitor
Will disputes recently hit an all-time high in England and Wales, with the High Court seeing 188 claims for reasonable financial provision under the Inheritance Act, up from 128 in 2018.
There is very little provision in English law for cohabiting couples. Currently if you live with a partner but aren’t married, if one dies then there is no automatic provision for the surviving partner.
This can cause trouble if there are complicated family ties involved, such as children or other family members, leaving the surviving partner with no legal protection if they chose to uphold intestacy laws – and potentially no right to their partner’s estate.
Ben continued: “One way to combat this would be to enter into a cohabitation agreement. These are easy and inexpensive solutions that effectively create a contract between the two parties setting out their agreement as to the division of their combined assets.
“The other alternative would be to make a Will or do them both in tandem. This would ensure that if someone dies, the house or family business for example will go where they want them to. A will could also be prepared by cohabitees ‘in contemplation of marriage’, which would mean that they wouldn’t need to update it again once the marriage had taken place.
“If couples aren’t sure when exactly their wedding date will next be, preparing for the worst outcome is a good idea just as a safety net and to put loved one’s minds at ease at this worrying time for all.”