Do we HAVE to get married?

(119 Posts)
NaturalBlondeYeahRight Wed 24-Apr-13 20:33:44

We have been together ( more or less happily grin )for 18 years. 2 DC, house in both names and appropriate wills and life insurance.
I don't want a 'ah, go and get married' Fred. But seriously, should we?
If either of us kick the bucket before our time, will
It cause serious problems. OH main breadwinner so presuming he will be ok money wise but am I taking big risks. I have visions of poverty line before will is sorted. We don't even have joint accounts (never got round to it) but please don't think this is an issue, our money is shared equally.

eccentrica Wed 24-Apr-13 20:36:03

Make wills. See a solicitor. Don't get married just for inheritance - and if you do, for god's sake don't have a bloody wedding grin

AuntieStella Wed 24-Apr-13 20:39:03

Does his pension pay out to non-marital partners?

Can you manage without the IHT exemptions that are available only to the married/CPed? Do you mind forgoing state bereavement benefits (also only available to married/CPed)?

Bobyan Wed 24-Apr-13 20:39:45

Las Vegas, complete with Elvis!

Ragwort Wed 24-Apr-13 20:39:57

I am not a legal expert but if you have properly drawn up wills, shared house ownership and life insurance I would assume that is all the 'financial issues' covered.

What about if he is seriously injured/ill - would you be next of kin to make any decisions of what care he needs?

If you separate (and please, don't be one of those who says 'it would never happen' grin) - would you both have equal rights to the children?

I don't believe in getting married for the big white dress, bridezilla attitude, horrendous receptions, guest angst and ridiculous waste of money, but I personally got married (very quietly) for all the boring reasons - married 25 years this year grin.

Ragwort Wed 24-Apr-13 20:41:20

Pension, really good point, can't believe I forgot this as I used to a trustee on a works pension scheme. You both need to check if the pension pays out to 'partners' or just legal spouses.

Pobblewhohasnotoes Wed 24-Apr-13 20:45:50

What about the two of you just nipping to the registry office and not tell anyone?

My mum and step dad did this for financial reasons, to be secure if something happened to the other one (they've also been together for years).

Shallishanti Wed 24-Apr-13 20:46:01

I feel your pain, or rather, I felt it about 20 yrs ago when I realised I would not be entitled to any pension if dp kicked the bucket and we had 3 kids, house etc (mortgage would have been sorted, but you have to eat grin)
if it helps, as Ragwort says, you can get married virtually in secret and carry on exactly as you were- a friend who had to do this for immigration purposes was v reassuring, she found it made no difference to their relationship which was sound on all counts without a certificate.

TheCraicDealer Wed 24-Apr-13 20:46:59

Yeah, I'd do that- it's pretty romantic really, you could both just take a day off, tell no-one and it!

NaturalBlondeYeahRight Wed 24-Apr-13 20:50:20

See, you guys have already brought up issues I haven't considered. I don't know if I am next of kin (how would that be resolved?) he only has one sister and DC left except for distant cousins. Sis and I are close so it's unlikely that would even cause concern, but worth sorting. Both DC born at beginning of 2000's so presume even though DP is on birth certs, he wouldn't have auto parent rights.
Even though insurance def ok, I don't know about pension......DP thinks its all a bit morbid, I'm just practical.
Of course I don't think we couldn't split, that can happen to anyone. I think I would be reliant that he is intrinsically a decent chap on that one.

It doesn't look good on paper, yet I feel content. Why can't it just be done like a will?

badbride Wed 24-Apr-13 20:50:27

There are some tax advantages and disadvantages of being married--all depends on your financial situation.

I'm not an accountant, but AIUl, husbands and wives can transfer certain assets to each other without incurring tax charges (including potential inheritance tax liabilities).

On the other hand, a married couple can only claim to have one principal residence for capital gains tax exemption--I think unmarried partners can claim one each.

Might be worth having a chat with an accountant or the CAB?

Thurlow Wed 24-Apr-13 20:54:09

We're in a similar boat. We've tied up everything we can legally - pensions, mortgage, life insurance, wills passing on savings etc. Marriage just isn't for us and I worry that even a secret registry do just to get it on paper might change something, so I'd rather not do it. I'd go and have a chat with a solicitor if you are worried and see what they say, see how much of an issue it could be.

One of the biggest things is next of kin, especially for medical decisions. I'm ok with this one as I know DP's parents will go along with what I know about DP's wishes, but it is something to consider.

IMO, being unmarried is fine for the good times, but married is best for the bad times.

Seriously ill/incapacitated : DH is my next of kin and I his, able to make decisions for each other. Unmarried, I guess that legally our parents would be our NoKs.

Dead : widow/er rights, inheritance tax, NoK, pensions all much smoother.

Separating : much harder for one to screw the other over in acrimony.

Not to be too macabre but; you might never separate, maybe neither of you will ever be seriously ill, but everybody dies sometime. wink

ChunkyPickle Wed 24-Apr-13 20:58:53

If something awful happened and one of you died, aren't there also tax implications? As in, even though the house is in both names, if you're married it's actually communal so comes automatically to you, but if you're not then the remaining partner is left basically half a house that you now have to pay tax on?

I have to admit I'm thinking DP and I need to do the nip down the registration office thing, just for the peace of mind and hopeful reduction in hassle should something go wrong (I worry about having an accident that leaves me unconscious and them refusing to let him make decisions about me for instance)

jacks365 Wed 24-Apr-13 20:59:48

A friend of mine said she'd never marry. She was in a long term stable relationship and he had an accident and was on life support. She was shocked to discover she had no say it was down to his parents. They married soon after.

CognitiveOverload Wed 24-Apr-13 21:01:16

Go and see a solicitor smile

sittinginthesun Wed 24-Apr-13 21:02:31

Not romantic, but if your OP dies, leaving you assets over £325k, you'll have to pay IHT on anything over that figure. If you're married, you don't.

exoticfruits Wed 24-Apr-13 21:07:02

My solicitor says that she has been responsible for 7 couples getting married recently.
I would just make sure that you get on really well with DP's family if you don't.
Certainly as a widow my position would have been very different without a marriage certificate.

exoticfruits Wed 24-Apr-13 21:08:05

You don't have to have a wedding-you can just go to a registry office with a couple of witnesses.

kim147 Wed 24-Apr-13 21:09:32

I mentioned this at a school I worked at recently. 3 people were long term but not married. They didn't seem to have a clue about houses and wills.

exoticfruits Wed 24-Apr-13 21:09:33

It really is more than 'a piece of paper,' as people find out if the worst happens.

CarpeVinum Wed 24-Apr-13 21:10:07

You don't have to.

Here is a guide to all the areas you can get a solicitor to sort out if any of them are an issue for you.

Or you could nip to the registry office and make a quick legal contract and have the same effect in one fell swoop.

You don't have to have a wedding, or even tell people you got married if you don't fancey it.

I got married for the sake of various legalities after our son was born, not to make some statement about our relationship, which is the same as it was before.

'I'm ok with this one as I know DP's parents will go along with what I know about DP's wishes, but it is something to consider.' I'm sure you have a great relationship with his parents but if something really bad happens NOBODY can say 100% what they will feel. Especially not a parent imo. 3 minutes in a registry office makes sure you can take care of each other and there will be no possibility of family dissent or trouble. It's worth it I think.

Pobblewhohasnotoes Wed 24-Apr-13 21:13:34

Just a thought but if you aren't married at the time your child is born only the mother is allowed to give consent for medical treatment.

Khaleese Wed 24-Apr-13 21:15:49

Get married, it makes it all easy. Your solid as you can be this just cements the cracks.

Not being NOK would be a nightmare.

Pobblewhohasnotoes Wed 24-Apr-13 21:16:28

Just to add, if you then get married the father can have PR, but otherwise nope, unless you go through the court. So any operation your child might need, only the mum is allowed to give consent.

Also I have a friend who I nag regularly to marry/make a will. This is because she and her dp each have a child from a previous relationship as well as one together. If her dp were to die I think she would struggle to continue to see her stepson, her daughter's sibling. Worse still if she were to die her dp has no rights to be the guardian of her daughter - who lives with him and her sister and has done so for years.

Thurlow Wed 24-Apr-13 21:18:05

Northern, that's true. But given DP's issues about marriage, I would still prefer to trust that they will go along with me, than risk a change to our relationship by getting married.

There are plenty of people who are in long term relationships and aren't married. They never seem to appear on these threads...

DontmindifIdo Wed 24-Apr-13 21:18:21

I think you need to get some legal advice - he might think it's morbid, but could you point out that as he is the main bread winner, he doesn't have to worry about it, because if you die he'll be fine financially, and if he dies, he'll be dead so not having to deal with the shit caused by you not being married, it'll be you, and it's only fair to do what it takes to reduce the chance that while you're grieving you're having to wade through a lot of complex legal shit and work out what you're entitled too.

If he doesn't want to have to think about it all and discuss his dying over and over, just get married (you don't have to do a full wedding, a 15 minute registrary office job would be fine - you don't need to even tell anyone, just get it done and then know you've got that covered). the only reason not to get married like this are a) you want to do the big wedding at some point and just haven't got round to it/can't afford it yet, or b) you don't want to be legally tied to each other. If you d'nt want the big wedding, but you do want to be legally tied to each other, than just do it. Far easier than faffing around seeing solicitors, drawing up agreements, trying to make sure everything's covered. Seems the far easier option.

(BTW - in my view the only reasons to be married if you aren't religious are for "when things go wrong" coverage, it's like insurance. The only reasons against getting married - other than general laziness about arranging it - do boil down to "when things go wrong, I want to be able to walk away easily and not to be tied to this person")

Thurlow Wed 24-Apr-13 21:19:08

Pobble, the birth certificate gives the dad the same parental rights as the mum.

DeafLeopard Wed 24-Apr-13 21:19:40

Also Widowed Parent's Allowance of £100ish a week is only for married or CP'ed.

Jinty64 Wed 24-Apr-13 21:19:53

My Mum died recently. She was very organised with a will, paperwork sorted our etc. I couldn't believe how much there still was to see to. Dh and I have lived together for 21 years and have 3 dc's. we are going to marry (very quietly) later this year. I want everything to be as simple as possible if one of us dies.

DeafLeopard Wed 24-Apr-13 21:20:03

What about if you split up? You would have no claim on his pension IIRC...

His parents would be seen as his next of kin in the event of his death.

You are treated in law as two separate individuals if you remain unmarried. You could well end up with a whole host of financial problems and hardship as well as having to face your own emotional grief at his passing. You could too easily end up relying on the goodwill of his family.

There are many legal implications here for you if he dies; some of which you two may not have even considered.

You currently as his unmarried partner would not be able to set up Letters of Administration with regards to his estate nor choose a headstone. You would also not be able to claims any Widows benefit from the government if unmarried and you could well end up being totally reliant on his family's goodwill towards you in the event of his death.

kim147 Wed 24-Apr-13 21:20:35

The law about parental consent changed a while ago - as long as the Dad is on the certificate, he has consent.

jacks365 Wed 24-Apr-13 21:24:27

Thurlow due to the age of the dc ie prior to 2003 dad has not got parental rights unless they marry.

Pobblewhohasnotoes Wed 24-Apr-13 21:26:00

Only if your child was born after 2003. You an re-register the birth otherwise. I've seen no end of Dads upset that they can't agree to treatment.

exoticfruits Wed 24-Apr-13 21:29:40

You really have to be very sure that DP's family love you and see you as his DW and want to make everything easy for you-if this is not the case then I would advise that you get the marriage certificate. If he is dead or unconscious they can make huge difficulties, but if you are the wife, what you say goes.That is without even thinking of the financial side.
I would at least see a solicitor-ours brought up all sorts of issues that I hadn't thought about-despite having being widowed early in life and having had experience.
One thing that hadn't even crossed my mind is that I get DH1's inheritance allowance in addition to my own-even though I married again.

exoticfruits Wed 24-Apr-13 21:30:38

The law is a very funny thing-never assume anything.

maddening Wed 24-Apr-13 21:30:57

from point of view of widows pension it makes sense.

Zappo Wed 24-Apr-13 21:32:17

I'm ok with the next of kin thing. The person who is best placed to make decisions for me is the person who has given birth to me and known me longest.

She saw me into this world, I'd be happy if she saw me out of it too.

MrsPoglesWood Wed 24-Apr-13 21:35:03

We are in the same position. We have been engaged - ahem - for 28 years. Had 2 weddings booked over the years but cancelled both due to a) discovering I was up the duff and realising we needed to buy a house asap rather than leisurely saving up for a mortgage deposit and a big wedding; and b) my DF died suddenly a week after I'd booked the registry office and I just couldn't think about it. I almost daren't book a third as gawd knows what might happen! Lottery win perhaps grin

Mortgage, life insurance and wills have always been sorted but we are in the same position re pensions. The terms of both mine and DP's says they will pay out to a 'spouse' and the definition of spouse in the t&cs is clearly a someone you are either married to or in a legal civil partnership with. We have both worked too hard and paid in far too much for it just to go back into the pot so we want to make sure that either is entitled to inherited rights if either of us snuff it. At 45 and 47 we are starting to think about this stuff a bit more seriously.

You also have to consider issues like 'next of kin' consent if either of you were in need of emergency medical treatment or even worse end of life care, organ transplantation etc. DS is both mine and DP's next of kin now he's over 18, previously it was our DMs. Technically we wouldn't have a say about each other's treatment and would have to rely on DS - or the DMs previously - to take our wishes into account. But the reality is that either of our DMs - as could DS now - could totally override our wishes as legal next of kin. Not that they would've done but not all families are close, caring or share the same beliefs.

It's a big step whenever you take it but after 18 years, 2 DC, a mortgage etc I think it makes sense. Yes, if you ever split up it makes separation more expensive but if you are in a long term relationship with dependents I think it offers some financial protection and provides next of kin status which can be the most important of all.

I'm planning on probably doing it 2015 to make it a full on 30 yr engagement. DS will be 27 then and I might even make him dress as a page boy! Seriously though, it will be low key, informal and fun rather than the full on big white expensive jobby we originally had planned back in 1989. Oh and DP and I have never had a joint account, ever. We just work things out between us and we've never had a problem.

Sorry that's a bit long. Red wine fuelled tonight!

exoticfruits Wed 24-Apr-13 21:35:05

According to MN many women don't feel at all like that about their MILs, Zappo.

NaturalBlondeYeahRight Wed 24-Apr-13 21:35:12

Yep, both ours born before 2003. Oh I thought this might open a whole can of worms. Unless you take serious legal advice and/or you don't own much then you are basically stuffed then?
I have issues in that I find the whole 'marriage' concept embarrassing (not embarassed to be married, just the vows bit) and for those in the first flush of romance. Will def tell my DC to do it before DC and before 'life' gets in the way.
I have a feeling it might have to be be a 'drunk in Vegas' a la friends wedding.

DontmindifIdo Wed 24-Apr-13 21:36:01

I'm not sure on this, but another one to get advice on - If he for any reason needs long term care, not just death, are you covered if you aren't next of kin - not to just make decisions, but to ensure that your joint assets like your home/savings aren't used to pay for it? I know that in relation to end of life care (such as dementia), if a spouse is alive, they aren't forced to sell the family home to pay for it, but what if you aren't married and you just own a share of the house each? Even if you are due to inherit his share, that doesn't mean it couldn't be spent paying for his care if he needs it (or yours if you need it) - my Nana was in a home for 7 years and about 3 months before she died, we finally used up all but the £24k you're "allowed" in savings from the sale of her 3 bed house in a nice area and hers and Grandad's life savings (he'd died 10 years earlier).

Again, I don't know about this, but it's worth asking about.

Zappo Wed 24-Apr-13 21:36:57

But my MIL wouldn't be making decisions about me or my children(that would be different) but about DP!

Morebiscuitsplease Wed 24-Apr-13 21:37:10

Seek advice, depending on your situation there could be an inheritance tax issue. Also draw up Power of Attorney , even married people need this too. Hate to say it but a wedding is much nicer and quite often cheaper than IHT. Marriage does have benefits. Best of luck!

Murtette Wed 24-Apr-13 21:38:17

Bear in mind that, if you separate then, if you're not married, there's no divorce procedure so you're not entitled to any support from him and the amount which your children would be able to get is negligible (and possibly nothing if he doesn't have PR). I know you say everything is great now, but what happens if he does meet someone and disappears with her? Could you support yourself and your DC, buy him out & pay the mortgage? I know marriage doesn't stop him doing that but it does mean you could get some financial support from him.
Of course, if you were the breadwinner/most of the savings or other assets were in your name, then that could be a reason not to get married as you'd have to support him.

WorrySighWorrySigh Wed 24-Apr-13 21:38:49

Why can't it just be done like a will?

It can, go to the register office, give the appropriate notice, get two witnesses, fill out paperwork, pay money and that is it.

One of the risks of not marrying is that one person can change their side of the deal (wills, pension, life ins) unilaterally and without telling you. It will never happen until it does and then there wont be a damn thing you can do about it.

A person can only be married to one person at a time but can be in an apparently exclusive relationship with many. In that situation, the spousal relationship trumps all others I believe.

exoticfruits Wed 24-Apr-13 21:39:19

Even though we are married we have been to a solicitor and changed things so that if one of us gets dementia and needs long term care the house can't be sold over the head of the other.

DontmindifIdo Wed 24-Apr-13 21:39:30

Zappo- if your DM has died before you need decisions making as NOK, who would it be?

Dahlen Wed 24-Apr-13 21:40:25

You don't HAVE to get married. You can get round everything - including next of kin status and pension rights if you are financially and legally savvy (but most people are not wink). However, to do it that way will be difficult, time-consuming and costly. It is far simpler (and cheaper) to just get married.

exoticfruits Wed 24-Apr-13 21:41:47

But my MIL wouldn't be making decisions about me or my children(that would be different) but about DP!

But it would have huge implications for you if you didn't get on -fine if she loves you and wants to make things as best as possible for all.

Thurlow Wed 24-Apr-13 21:42:42

I didn't realise that about the before 2003 parental rights, that's pretty unfair!

Murette, you comment about support reminds me of a law course I went on once, where the tutor said that if you move in to a house you don't shared own, make sure you get your name on the mortgage; if someone moves in to your house, never let them onto the mortgage!

Realistically, DP and I earn roughly the same amount and both work f/t so as far as I am concerned he owes me nothing in terms of support, he only owes our DC. Obviously if there is a difference in income or one parent works and the other stays at home, that becomes a different discussion.

exoticfruits Wed 24-Apr-13 21:43:25

Much cheaper to get a marriage certificate. If you don't you need to make sure that you cover all angles legally and don't just miss something by accident.

Zappo Wed 24-Apr-13 21:44:56

Zappo- if your DM has died before you need decisions making as NOK, who would it be?

Well presumably someone has to be your next of kin. So if DC are 18 they would be, if not, I suppose my siblings.

In law how do they decide who has precedence as next of kin?- eldest surviving sibling. What happens if someone has no parents and no siblings- is it any surviving relative? Does an Uncle take precedence over a cousin. What happens if a patient hasn't declared who his NOK is?
I'm genuinely interested.

OceanBeach Wed 24-Apr-13 21:45:41

You dont have to say vows to he legally married. Whole bare minimum legal thing takes 2 minutes. Only have to confirm you name and are free to marry and sign register. That's it! Cheaper than a solicitor

exoticfruits Wed 24-Apr-13 21:46:16

It is a bit like travel insurance-it is only when you come to make a claim that you realise that you should have gone through all the small print in minute detail-if all is well you never realise that you were not fully covered.

NaturalBlondeYeahRight Wed 24-Apr-13 21:46:25

Ah Mrspogles you make me feel like a whippersnapper with my 17 year engagement grin
It's very easy to put fingers in ears and shout la la la when things are going smoothly. Believe me, different scenarios have often crossed my mind, and like someone earlier said, OH doesn't really have to worry as most of the household income comes from him.
I've googled registry offices near me and there are surprising few. I know it's been said before, but in this day and age I cannot believe that partnership loopholes cannot be sorted like a will.

FrauMoose Wed 24-Apr-13 21:46:48

I think there might also be problems if one of you got a job abroad - spouses can travel with their husband/wife but as a cohabiting partner does not have this right.

I married my partner in a fairly simple (Quaker) service. No great expenditure. No white dress. I don't wear a ring. I didn't change my name. It didn't mean we started behaving like characters in a sitcom.

That was 18 years ago.

In many ways I am very unromantic. It seemed as much about saying, 'We are in business together' as it was about Valentine's Day sentimentality.

exoticfruits Wed 24-Apr-13 21:47:23

That is why you need a solicitor Zappo-you can be sure there are definite answers.

Zappo Wed 24-Apr-13 21:47:55

exoticfruits point taken

I still can't see myself ever being married though

DontmindifIdo Wed 24-Apr-13 21:48:01

Zappo - just think about things like if your MIL refused to give permission for a proceedure that means that while your DP survived, they were physically disabled and unable to work/needed you to take on a caring role for them, it would surely have a huge impact on you and your DCs. (Even more so if as NOK she refused a proceedure that lead to your DP dying).

If your MIL decided to make things difficult for you to access your DP if they were in hospital, there's little you could do about it.

LivingThings Wed 24-Apr-13 21:55:03

Get married. Me and DH had been together for 8 years but decided to get married as wanted children and to have things/wills etc financially sorted before that. Just went to Las Vegas and got wed in a hotel chapel and had a great holiday too.

Zappo Wed 24-Apr-13 21:55:41

But I'm sure MIL would want the best for DP and she's not a JW so won't be refusing blood transfusions.

Plus what do divorced people with children do? Divorced partner might still be main wage earner, giving wife good maintenance. may be co-parenting responsibly. Ex-wife won't be NOK any longer and MIL will be making all the decisions.

So you could get married and split up before you get ill/hgospitalised and no longer be protected anyway.

I know I'm being devil's advocate here

TWinklyLittleStar Wed 24-Apr-13 22:00:23

I cannot believe that partnership loopholes cannot be sorted like a will

But they can - by signing a marriage certificate. Quick, cheap and easy. Why spend all that extra time money and energy trying to cover all the eventualities that marriage will cover?

WorrySighWorrySigh Wed 24-Apr-13 22:02:03

I cannot believe that partnership loopholes cannot be sorted like a will.

They can! (now repeating myself): register office, notice, fee, witnesses, confirm that you are free to marry, sign register.

How much easier do you want it?

The difference between a marriage and a will is that a marriage is a bilateral agreement a will is a unilateral statement.

exoticfruits Wed 24-Apr-13 22:08:23

Going to a solicitor is never cheap-getting the marriage certificate is much cheaper and simpler.

DontmindifIdo Wed 24-Apr-13 22:11:10

NaturallyBlonde - the loopholes can be sorted out in less than 15 minutes, you just get married wink to be fair, the law gives you an easy and relatively cheap and religion free way of confirming your partnership - a civil wedding, taking out all the 'frills' - really all you have to do is confirm your name and that you are chosing to marry this person with free will and know of no reason why your marriage would be illegal, your DP does the same front of a couple of witnesses and then you sign a bit of paper to that effect - take out the romantic bits, readings and photos and it can be only 5 minutes to sort that. I know someone who got married in their lunch break and didn't say anything for a few weeks - it was just for them because he'd just been often a dream job in the middle east and it really wasn't practical/safe for her to go if she wasn't his wife.

There's not many registery offices because so many hotels can do weddings now, so people often just get married at one of those with the registrar going to them, but most councils will have one somewhere.

TheCraicDealer Wed 24-Apr-13 22:12:09

It is amusing that many people say they don't have time to arrange a marriage ceremony, but think that they will have time to gather relevant documents, discuss specifically what they want to achieve, pick a solicitor, meet the solicitor, hash out the terms of an agreement and sign on the doted line.... Honestly, I feel sleepy just typing all that.

MephistophelesSister Wed 24-Apr-13 22:12:54

DH and I married after more than 10yrs together. He really wasn't keen - but as he was the main earner and I was pregnant at the time I was adamant and he eventually caved in. We had a very quiet registry office do with just witnesses. I didn't even tell my parents until after the event (which caused major bad feelings, but thatis a whole other thread...)

6 months later he was diagnosed with a rare but serious form of cancer, had a massive operation and was given 50/50 chances of surviving another 6 months. Thankfully he is still with us, but being married meant that there was never any question about medical decisions, me being present at the hospital, me refusing visits from his side of the family that he didn't want etc. Had the worst come to pass, I wouldn't have been left dealing with extra legal shit as well as being a new mum and having lost my partner. I am very, very glad we did it.

The capital gains tax on second properties is definitely a problem, however. We have two properties (one in each of our names), and should we ever need to sell either we are in a position where we would have to pay ££££s that an unmarried couple would escape. It is possible to list one property as your main residence, I believe - and you can switch which it is with a certain amount of notice, but it is still tricky. It rankles a bit, as even if you add the value of our two together we aren't close to the value of the average family home in the UK. Grrrrr.

WorrySighWorrySigh Wed 24-Apr-13 22:14:59

Ex-wife won't be NOK any longer and MIL will be making all the decisions.

Exactly, part and parcel of being an ex (and MiL is then ex as well). Otherwise ex-spouses would be making NOK decisions over the heads of second spouses. Which would make no sense.

I'm sure MIL would want the best for DP and she's not a JW so won't be refusing blood transfusions.

But it isnt just about blood transfusions. My MiL does not know my DH's full medical history. She doesnt know what medication he is taking or that he is allergic to ibuprofen.

I am certain that my DH would not want his lovely but easily confused, technically sane but practically barking DM making important medical decisions over his unconscious body. He would rather the doctors asked the cat.

DontmindifIdo Wed 24-Apr-13 22:15:29

Zappo- the problem arises when it's not clear what 'the best' is - often there's several options that will lead to different outcomes. however as his partner, you'd be the one to live with the results of those outcomes, but not the one who's decision would be final (assuming he was unable to make the decision himself). Also as the one who lives with him you are bound to have a better idea of what he'd want - it's been 15 years since I lived with my mum, I've been with DH for 12 of those years, I'd say he's got a much better idea of my views and preferences and what's best for me than my mum would now.

iheartdusty Wed 24-Apr-13 22:16:59

There must be so many horror stories about NOK stepping in.

My friend's experience; her DP died, his adult daughter was NOK, they had never got on through the 10 years friend and DP were together, adult daughter arranged the funeral without telling friend and refused to tell friend which undertakers were involved, where her DP's body was, and so on.

MrsPoglesWood Wed 24-Apr-13 22:19:31

Not quite a whippersnapper NaturalBlonde DP and I saw and ad on Sky for a film called "The Five Year Engagement." We both laughed and called them amateurs.

But you cannot sort out pension inheritance through a will. The terms of the pension have to say that they will pay out to an unmarried partner nominated by the pension holder. A pension recipient cannot nominate someone in a will to receive their pension unless the terms of the pension allow it. And they are far and few between. Nearly all specifiy a spouse or civil partner - both of which need certificates as proof of inherited rights.

WorrySighWorrySigh Wed 24-Apr-13 22:30:27

We are in our late mid 40s. I would hate to have important NOK decisions to be left to my or DH's elderly parents.

I wonder how many organ donation opportunities are missed simply because there is no clear NOK to make the decision?


Is there no legal way DP & I can sort out our pensions, NoK, etc, without being married? Do we really have to do that? Or can we cover it via solicitors?

Serious question. I know that when I started my private pension I agreed to it going 'to all of my children' in the event of my death.

Fuxache. We need a civil partnership register for people who don't want to be married, but want their relationship to be official. Equally, marriage should be available to anyone who wants to be married. There is a distinction.

kim147 Wed 24-Apr-13 22:36:34

This is interesting about living together and your rights.

NHS Next of Kin


grovel Wed 24-Apr-13 22:39:47

Do it. Keep it small. Make it special.

Friends of mine just did it. The look on their faces as they made their vows was lovely. They just recognised that what they had was special. Their teenage DCs were moved (initially sceptical). Any bureaucratic problems downstream sorted.

LimitedEditionLady Wed 24-Apr-13 22:42:25

You know,i have never thought about this.we have been together nine years,got a wee one and a mortgage but i never thought about if he got poorly or anything.i love my other half but the idea of a wedding just gives me the mild palpitations.its not the commitment its the mass of it all.i know we could just go do it but what about upset family?i think hed want a big fancy do but i really wouldnt.

loubielou31 Wed 24-Apr-13 22:42:51

Is it just me who doesn't quite get why if you want an "official relationship" you wouldn't want to get married. That's what a marriage is, in essence it's a way of making your relationship recognised by the law of the land. confused

Longdistance Wed 24-Apr-13 22:45:59

Just get married. Have a simple registry office do. Witnesses, and close friends and family. Drinks and a knees up after smile
A lot more fun than going to a boring solicitor.

Longdistance Wed 24-Apr-13 22:47:11

None of this not being next of kin lark.

MrsPoglesWood Wed 24-Apr-13 23:00:13

SadEyed for pensions it absolutely depends on what the terms of the pension policy says and a will or any other legal document cannot change the terms. You need to check the pension t&cs carefully. Spouse means a married/civil partner only unless it explicitly says otherwise.

Kim that's really interesting and good that it is recognised that NOK can be other than family/blood relatives and that patients can name someone. But if you don't have chance to put that card into practice it could still end up being a nightmare with 'blood relatives' taking over whilst the unmarried partner and DP of 20+ years and DM of DCs has no say.

You can get married quietly, quickly and cheaply just to formalise things. We should've done it years ago.

goldwrapped Wed 24-Apr-13 23:21:44

Loving this thread. Proposed to my now DH during my lunch hour whilst training to be a registrar of births and deaths - I wanted to make sure I would be able to register his death.... How romantic am I?
Since then I have seen countless heartbreaking situations where partners of decades have been ignored in death registrations as they are not recognized in law. Worse - if there's an ex-partner who the deceased is still legally married to, they are named on all the documentation.
The most wonderful weddings are those with a handful of guests, without the circus that goes with most of them. You can feel the emotion, and I am still moved to tears.... Society has transformed marriage in to a performance, and the legalities have been forgotten.
You can question the legal position all you like, but every time they try to change the law, they can't find a better/easier/cheaper way to do it.
Minimum charge for wedding = £70 notices, £44 ceremony + certificate, for a weekday register office (not registration office, there's a difference) wedding. Every district has one. Try it - you might even enjoy it! xxx

LimitedEditionLady Wed 24-Apr-13 23:48:37

Whats a register office compared to a registration office?i wouldnt like a big wedding,i dont like attention on me although i love helping people to make things special for them.

goldwrapped Thu 25-Apr-13 00:03:06

Every registration district has to have one designated register office, which has to offer weddings/cps for a fee set by the General Register Office, currently £40.
Registration Offices can add extra fees, like a booking fee, and can charge extra for their 'special' rooms. There is usually little difference other than the cost, and there should be no difference in the ceremony itself.
As has been said in earlier posts, there really doesn't have to be any fuss: short intro, each declare that you're free to marry (answer "I am" to the question) and contract your marriage (I, Joe Bloggs, take you Joanne Bloggs, to be my wedded wife), sign the register (not the certificate!!) and Joe's your hubby. Job done smile You don't have to dress up, you just need 2 witnesses - some offices will even do that bit for you!

Startail Thu 25-Apr-13 01:06:25

I know my DFs, who have been partners for 20 years, did.

He's quite a lot older and with pension looming it just made life simpler. Also her Dad is getting on and it was lovely for him to see her marry. Not that I think he's the sort to say anything.

It was a very quiet registry do, she just wore ordinary summer clothes, actually DDs and me were far more dressed up because we had posh frocks for a formal wedding later in the year.

We all had tea and cake at her Dad's (her mum died when she was a child), We dumped the DDs on DBIL and went for a lovely meal out in a pretty local restaurant.

Wedding gifts were donations to Oxfam, although their colleagues were naughty and added a boat trip to their honeymoon.

AdoraBell Thu 25-Apr-13 01:29:13

Not sure if that has been said already so sorry if it has, next of kin -

unless you are down on paper as NOK then it will be DP's father, or next male rellie if he is no longer alive. If you get married then you are NOK unless DP nominates someone else.

NOK is important to me because my ILs are total control freaks who would love to exlude me from vital decisions if they could, but that's just them, could be your DP's parents are perfectly reasonable.

bedhaven Thu 25-Apr-13 05:58:28

My Aunt and her partner never wanted to get married but after 30 odd years together did because they would lose so much in inheritance tax.
They eloped to Gretna Green and they do not celebrate the anniversary. They had a great party of bridesmaids and pageboys...cue some spectacular frock monstrosities from charity shops!

WorrySighWorrySigh Thu 25-Apr-13 07:32:31

The reason we get married in the way that we do (rather than just sending a letter to a solicitor) is that marriage is so important as an agreement. It is bilateral, it confers rights which cannot be done any other way.

It doesnt have to be a ceremony unless you want it to be.

thegreylady Thu 25-Apr-13 07:41:13

Just quietly book a registry office and slip off and do it-no fuss no 'wedding' just an official recognition of the status quo.

robino Thu 25-Apr-13 07:43:09

After 17 years together, two kids and another on a way, an emergency operation and a heart scare DH and I decided that really, marriage was the only safe way to guarantee that our wishes would be taken into account at all points throughout our relationship, no matter what happened.

I highly recommend mumsnet for finding witnesses if you want it go it alone!

Oldandcobwebby Thu 25-Apr-13 07:55:00

If he dies, you won't even be eligible to arrange his cremation. You are not a relative, after all. Why make your lives potentially difficult? Have a chat with the local registrar, or, better still, go to Las Vegas.

jamdonut Thu 25-Apr-13 07:55:47

The reason that you can't do it "like a will" is because the legal formalities already go to the register office and take 2 witnesses (you don't even have to know them!) and just say the words and Bob's Your Uncle...sorted! You don't even have to tell anyone you've done it until you choose to. You don't have to have or wear a ring. Just carry on as before, but safe in the knowledge that you've covered your back.

DontmindifIdo Thu 25-Apr-13 08:08:24

I love the idea that civil partnerships, when you drill down to the actual legal bits, are any different to civil marriages - the actual process you go through and the legal rights and responsiblities are the same - i don't understand why some people are so set against marriage they will jump through hoop after hoop trying to get those rights and responsibilities without actually getting married - it's like you clearly want to be married without actually doing the easiest thing about it - ie. a straight forward, lunch break wedding.

I would say as well, if you want to at some unknown point in the future have a big wedding, there's nothing stopping you doing that anyway even if you've got legally married in the past, you can just have the ceremony but be legally covered now. That just means if the big wedding you'll save for "some day" never actually happens, you will still be covered.

I think the problem is that we've gone a couple of generations without large numbers of people just having simple civil services because you don't have to be married to live together, the bulk of people who do get married do a big wedding, and those who have done quiet registary job weddings don't feel the need to tell anyone they have.

I think the issues of those just living together in old age will start to creep up the public concious, those in care homes and going through difficult end of life decisions are still the last generation who had to be married rather than live together. But we are starting to see those who were the first to get divorced in large numbers and/or live together without getting married reach old age, you will start to hear more about the downsides, the loss of pension rights when your partner dies compared to spouse, the NOK issues (particularly with people having long drawn out declines you get in old age) and others raised.

jamdonut Thu 25-Apr-13 08:14:11

If you "marry" in a register office it is a civil wedding i.e partnership in the eyes of the State ,not God. (That's why some people have blessings afterwards, if they need the approval of said Being. )
Is that not what you require?

Perihelion Thu 25-Apr-13 08:29:53

You can pick the shortest ceremony. For ours, we said " I am" and "Yes". Got married just before birth of DD so DH was NOK and so much cheaper than a visit to the solicitors. No need for a wedding to get married.

DeafLeopard Thu 25-Apr-13 13:04:18

"No need for a wedding to get married."

^^ this.

Weddings are such a circus these days that people think they can't afford to get married. You can and you should. You don't need to tell anyone if you don't want to offend / upset people, and if in the future you decide you want a big day then go and do it later.

AnyoneforTurps Thu 25-Apr-13 13:13:52

Re NOK. There is no general legal definition of your next of kin. There are a small number of laws that do define it (differently, naturally grin) e.g the Mental Health Act, but these definitions do not apply to medical situations generally, only to situations covered by those specific laws.

In general, marriage will not affect whether you are treated as NOK in medical situations and you have no more rights by being married. In fact, unless you have been given power of attorney or appointed by the court of protection, the NOK has no legal rights anyway. No adult is legally entitled to make medical decisions on behalf of another adult (other than with POA etc). Doctors would usually try to consult the wishes of NOK, but are not obliged to comply with them.

So you definitely do not need to get married so that your DP can be your NOK.

DontmindifIdo Thu 25-Apr-13 13:25:53

DeafLeopard - yes, we did have the big wedding because we wanted to do it, but it was in a hotel, and the legal part (paying the council for two people to come out to do the ceremony and giving us our marriage certificate), cost about the same as we have been quoted to do wills. (We only really want wills to say what we want to happen to DCs and who will manage their money if we both die)

NotYoMomma Thu 25-Apr-13 14:14:10

I would just et married because surely it's just easier? Rather than seeing solicitors and looking everything up...

The way the law is I don't see why more people don't just get cheap weddings.

Zappo Thu 25-Apr-13 22:04:50

"The way the law is I don't see why more people don't just get cheap weddings"

Because marriage is for life and some people don't want to make promises they may not be able to keep. Or does the civil ceremony not stress the "till death us do part bit"

I say that not because I'm planning on doing a runner but because I've seen so many marriages/relationships break up including my own.

DontmindifIdo Thu 25-Apr-13 22:08:45

Zappo, there are no vows in the civil ceremony unless you add them in, literally you just have to confirm who you are, that you know who they are, and that you freely chose to get married And have no legal reason not to - anything else is not required legally and is just personal preference.

DontmindifIdo Thu 25-Apr-13 22:09:53

Basically, you don't make any promises unless you chose to.

Zappo Thu 25-Apr-13 22:15:06

Ah thanks for confirming.

I think I got confused by another thread where someone was hoping for civil partnerships to become available to all because civil partnerships whilst conferring all the legal rights of marrisge stressed the finite nature of the relationship.

MyNewPassiveAggressiveNickname Thu 25-Apr-13 22:20:47

There is always the inheritance tax issue. As someone above said - being married has its massive advantages for the bad times.

Yes I know we all want to think bad things will never happen to use- but the reality is often different. Making a stance on remaining single comes at a cost IMO.

jamdonut Fri 26-Apr-13 08:11:17

See, I don't get why people want to go to all of the trouble of solicitors and wills etc just because they don't want to say "I promise..."., or say,"I don't need a bit of paper..." because quite obviously you DO need that bit of paper either by a civil ceremony or the solicitor to keep you secure. If you want to be easy come,easy go,then fine,don't bother. But don't expect to have any legal rights.

If you want legal rights,you go through the legal procedure which is "marriage".

(sorry, rambling,I know, but you get the gist. Rushing off to work)

exoticfruits Fri 26-Apr-13 08:28:54

It has always given me a wry smile when people say, in an off hand way, 'it is just a piece of paper' - because it really is far, far more, which unfortunately they may find out later to their cost. You don't have to have a wedding- you can pop into the registry office when doing your shopping, wearing jeans or whatever, get 2 witnesses off the street and do the formalities. You can get the legal side from a solicitor but then it will cost far more and there is the niggling doubt that something has been missed.
When you read on MN about the problems people have with DPs parents it is even odder that put themselves in a position where they could be completely frozen out by his family. If he already has DCs before you meet him there could again be huge problems.
If you don't get the marriage certificate you need to be sure that any blood relations love you to bits and want to put you first.

WorrySighWorrySigh Fri 26-Apr-13 08:30:58

I do get frustrated when people want the legal bits of marriage but complain that they have to actually do something to get them.

One of the nice things about Britain is that the state basically doesnt peer in through your bedroom window. If you want a relationship to be acknowledged legally then you have to tell the state about it (ie marriage/CP) otherwise you are simply two people sharing an address.

If the state were to assume that people who had lived at the same address for some time were in a relationship then all sorts of flat-share situations would take on a whole new meaning.

You cant have it both ways.

DontmindifIdo Fri 26-Apr-13 08:38:24

Jamdonut - i think what you are trying to say (and sorry if I've got this wrong) is that it's annoying when people want the rights confurred by marriage but not the responsibilities that go along with it (and your rights are your DP's reponsibilities, and your responsibilities are your DP's rights) - and don't want to do something that is far quicker and easier than the average solicitor appointment.

Zappo - that sounds like they went to a civil partnership with a humanist ceremony and got themselves confused! It's one of the big arguments for same sex marriage in my mind, it takes away the "other" option, you're married or you're not, if you want the rights, fine - everyone has the chance to get them, relatively cheaply and quickly (or fancy and expensively if they want) and it's all the same basic questions, how you 'dress round' that is entirely up to you. If you don't want the rights and responsibilities, also fine, that's up to you, you've got the choice.

Zappo Fri 26-Apr-13 21:30:20

"If you don't get the marriage certificate you need to be sure that any blood relations love you to bits and want to put you first"

True but I see many many threads on here where DH and DW don't put their spouses first.

Zappo Fri 26-Apr-13 21:37:03

"If you want a relationship to be acknowledged legally then you have to tell the state about it (ie marriage/CP) otherwise you are simply two people sharing an address"

Perversely, I rather like it when you put it like that- I am a woman who has chosen to live with a man no more no less quite romantic andvery Sue Bridehead(buries head in sand)

WorrySighWorrySigh Fri 26-Apr-13 22:20:19

I am a woman who has chosen to live with a man no more no less

And that is absolutely fine, that is what the state will then defend. I dont think that people have to marry if they dont want to create rights and obligations.

tootssweet Fri 26-Apr-13 22:34:56

This is a really interesting thread - am unmarried but DP & I have been together for years. He says he has a mortgage & dc's with me & that is enough to show his commitment - but practical me knows it isn't. Will be showing him this thread & seeing what we do next. Thanks for the advice mners!

WorrySighWorrySigh Sat 27-Apr-13 11:09:29

tootssweet - the problem is that these commitments are to the mortgage company and the children. Quite frankly, the mortgage company is probably the most able to enforce that the commitment.

They arent a commitment to you.

DeafLeopard Sat 27-Apr-13 12:09:19

toot - what WSWS says is correct.

You haven't said if you have made wills leaving everything to each other, but if you haven't and he dies, how would you feel if his parents forced you to sell your house so that they could have the financial value of their share of his inheritance?

Or if your house is above the IHT level, you could have to sell up to pay the IHT?

soverylucky Sat 27-Apr-13 12:19:53

Why don't you see getting married like going to make your will. For a will you go into town to attend an appointment with your solicitor where certain things will be explained to you and you sign on the dotted line. Takes a wee bit of time. For a marriage you go into town to attend an appointment with a registrar. No need for flowers, car, photographer or even to go for a meal afterwards. Then you have all financial and practical bases covered. TBH I can't see any reason in your situation not to get married.

DontmindifIdo Sat 27-Apr-13 20:52:53

Zappo - ^"If you don't get the marriage certificate you need to be sure that any blood relations love you to bits and want to put you first"

True but I see many many threads on here where DH and DW don't put their spouses first.^

this is true, but if you think your DH or DW wouldn't put you first, you can end that relationship via a divorce, you are kind of stuffed when it comes to your parents/PILs, nowt you can do about them. (other than get married and stop this sort of thing being their choice)

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