Those thinking about tying the knot this Valentine’s should consider the legalities when planning their big day, the Law Society of England and Wales said today.
“Newly engaged couples are often unaware of legal requirements around getting married or entering a civil partnership – and the knock-on effect this can have on other legal documents, such as their will,” said Law Society president Simon Davis.
According to the most recent figures from the Office of National Statistics, in 2016, there were 249,793 marriages and 890 civil partnerships in England and Wales.*
“Many marriage laws have not been updated since the late 1940s – setting specific and often surprising requirements around how, where and when couples can wed,” said Simon Davis.
“For example – under current law, ceremonies can only take place outdoors if they are under a structure with a permanent roof.
“The Law Commission is reviewing the laws around how and where people can marry in England and Wales– including outdoor weddings – in the hope this will make it simpler for couples to plan their big day.
“Many couples are also unaware that getting married or entering a civil partnership automatically invalidates their will – and that their estate would revert to intestacy rules.
“Whilst their new spouse would automatically inherit under intestacy law, other family members and close friends might not.
“Newly engaged couples should speak to a solicitor about updating their will to make sure that their new life together does not start with the wrong kind of hitch.”
Notes to Editors
*The most recent Office of National Statistic figures for marriages in England and Wales were in 2016. View the statistics here.
View the 2016 Office of National Statistic figures for civil partnerships in England and Wales here.
About the Law Society
The Law Society is the independent professional body that works globally to support and represent solicitors, promoting the highest professional standards, the public interest and the rule of law.
Press office contact: Emma Clarke | 020 8049 3743