Same Sex Marriage- The Bill has passed but what you should consider before heading down the aisle?

Are you already married?  While this may seem a silly question, if you were a same sex couple who validly married overseas, your marriage will now be automatically recognised in Australia under the new legislation. 

If you are intending to get married, perhaps you should consider entering into a pre-nuptial or financial agreement.

These agreements, when properly drafted, offer the best form of asset quarantining and protection for couples about to marry.  This is particularly important if one party has more assets than the other and is looking to protect those assets.

If you already have a cohabitation agreement (or a financial agreement during a de-facto relationship) then it might be advisable to review the terms of that agreement and consider what terms you may wish to include or change when entering into your new agreement.

While this conversation is very unromantic, it is essential that you are both on the same page about your financial resources and obligations.  In my experience couples who are honest and clear about what they want in a financial agreement and how assets will be divided often have far less conflict in the event of a relationship breakdown.

Don’t forget about estate planning, even if you already have a Will.

If you live in Queensland, then under the Succession Act 1981 (Qld) your Will may be automatically revoked when you marry, unless it contains an express provision that it has been made in contemplation of your marriage.

This means either drafting and executing a new Will “made in contemplation of your marriage” (before you marry) or alternatively, drafting and executing a new Will after your marriage.

The same consideration should be given to your Enduring Power of Attorney document.  If your current attorney is the same person you will be marrying, then no need to worry, but if your attorney is someone other than your intended spouse then your Enduring Power of Attorney may be revoked upon marriage.  So if you want someone other than your spouse to act as your attorney, then you should do a new Enduring Power of Attorney after you marry.

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