It is no secret that many people in their 20s and 30s are relying on their parents to get them up on the housing ladder. As housing prices soar above what the average worker can afford, it is down to the older generation to provide the financial leg-up that so many millenials now need to own a home.

While it is a gesture that any parents (who can afford it) like to make, things become complicated when their child marries. If a parent has spent a substantial chunk of their hard-earned pension and savings on a house for their child, they may be very nervous at the thought of their child divorcing and that house going to their spouse. This is one reason why pre-nups are becoming more popular in England and Wales.

As parents have a financial interest in their children’s marriage, with the added advantages of age and experience and the lack of romantic clouding, they are in an excellent position to ensure their children sign a pre-nup before they marry. Having a third party bring up the idea of a pre-nup also makes it easier and more acceptable for the couple to discuss.

However, pre-nups are not legally binding in England and Wales and in the event of divorce, the judge may discretionally use them as a guide. The extent to which they are followed will depend on the individual circumstances of the couple and other factors that have affected the marriage.

When couples come to us for a pre-nup in order to protect their assets before they marry, we often find that they haven’t thought of either writing or updating their will.

Just as few people marry thinking that they will divorce, few people marry thinking that they will soon be widowed. However, death is a certainty and accidents happen. Marriage invalidates existing wills and if there is no will the spouse will automatically inheret.

If you want the family home to be passed back to your blood family on the event of your death, then you must ensure you have legally-binding will in place that outlines this.

If you are concerned about your assets before you marry, or concerned about the property that you gifted your child, it is important that you seek legal advice to ensure you fully understand your legal position and what you can do to protect yourself or your child financially.

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