Royal Wedding: Time to wills and insurance

PRINCE Harry and Meghan Markle won’t have too many money worries after they get married this week, but for the rest of us weddings are one of life’s biggest financial milestones.

Just like divorces, death and babies, a marriage should signal an immediate look at your estate planning and life insurance, but most newlyweds don’t do this.

Estate planning — which, put simply, works out who gets what when you die — may seem morbid to think about when getting married, but weddings throw a whole new range of financial curve balls at couples.

Harry and Meghan’s royal wedding plans have captured the world’s imagination.

“It is a little-known fact among people that getting married will invalidate all previous wills anybody has had,” said Nicole Santinon, a senior associate at law firm Cowell Clarke.
The growing prevalence of second marriages, blended families and adult children of previous marriages increases the chances of complexity and conflict among family members.

Ms Santinon said drawing up a new will when getting married minimised risk, and the global wedding fever sparked by the upcoming royal nuptials might prompt some couples into action.
She said newlyweds should also examine the nominations made in their super fund about where their money and insurance payout would go.

“Single people often nominate a sibling or parents to receive the money. Even though people are getting married later in life and might not have built up a lot of wealth in their own name, their super is sitting there and that may be a considerable amount.”

Law firm Cowell Clarke’s Nicole Santinon says wills for newlyweds minimise risks.

New research by NobleOak Life Insurance found married people were the most likely to have life cover, and women were about 50 per cent more likely to have it than men.

“People who are married are more likely to have children or be starting a family,” NobleOak CEO Anthony Brown said.

He described life insurance as “the ultimate form of commitment”.
“Usually the person paying for it receives no direct benefit from it. It is completely for the benefit of their family and dependants.”

Mr Brown said married couples needed to be able to meet their mortgage, rent or other financial commitments if something happened to either one of them. He said there were several free online calculators that could help people work out how much life insurance they need.

Getting cover doesn’t have to be expensive — most people can organise it through their superannuation fund where the premiums are paid from their regular employer super deposits rather than their household budget.