For Better Or Worse For Richer Or Poorer In Sickness And In Health
Just got engaged and planning your wedding? Congratulations! We know there is a lot to think about when planning for the biggest day in your life so far and we have set out below some guidance to help make the big day run smoothly and your life together more secure.
Contracts and terms and conditions
As you will quickly learn, weddings are expensive and, more likely than not you will be required to pay large deposits to secure bookings with your suppliers, for example with your venue. It is vital that you ensure you have a contract in place with each supplier you engage and that you read the terms and conditions that apply to you before you sign any documents and pay the deposit. Having something in writing will ensure that both you and the supplier are clear on the terms agreed which will help avoid any disputes later down the line.
You should also keep a record of a payment schedule to ensure that you pay various suppliers on time. If you miss payments, the supplier may have the option in their terms and conditions to terminate the contract or suspend their services until they receive payment from you.
Deposits and cancellation rights
As you will be paying big deposits you should check whether the terms and conditions allow you to cancel the contract. You may want to do this if you change your mind about a supplier or you may need to in the event of any unforeseen circumstances such as the death of a family member.
If you have signed the contract away from the supplier’s premises (e.g. online) you are afforded some rights under the Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013 (“Regulations”). The Regulations give consumers a ‘cooling off period’ which is the right to cancel the contract within 14 days (usually from the date of the conclusion of the contract) without giving any reason or incurring any costs. The supplier is also required to give you certain information before you sign the contract, such as their full details and how you can contact them, the prices of the goods/services, their complaint handling policy etc. If the supplier does not provide you with this information, then your right to cancel may be extended to 12 months from the date the contract was signed.
If the contracts are actually signed at the supplier’s premises, you will not have the cooling off period granted by the Regulations but you should still check what the cancellation provisions state as you may need to cancel the contract. Most suppliers will want to recover most of the deposit or a percentage of the full price as compensation for their loss. The closer the date you cancel the contract to the date of your wedding, the more likely you will be required to pay a bigger sum to the supplier. However, suppliers have to be careful and ensure that any sums they retain actually reflects their reasonable loss. If the provisions are considered as a ‘penalty’ under common law, the clause will be unenforceable. We can review the terms and conditions for you and provide you with advice.
Faulty goods/services and dispute management
Once you have booked the goods/services you should follow up in writing with the supplier for every new or amended terms agreed over the phone. This will help avoid any confusion and protect your interests in the event of any disputes.
The Consumer Rights Act 2015 (“CRA”) gives consumers additional rights in respect of faulty goods or services provided by traders (i.e. photographers, venue suppliers etc).
With regard to any goods you purchase (e.g. table centre pieces, decorations, stationery), the CRA says goods must be as described, fit for purpose and of satisfactory quality. During the expected lifespan of the goods you are entitled to the following:
- up to 30 days: if the goods are faulty, you can get a refund
- up to six months: if the goods cannot be repaired or replaced, then you are entitled to a price reduction or a refund of the price paid
- up to six years: if the goods do not last a reasonable length of time you may be entitled to some money back
With regards to services you book (e.g. musicians/DJ):
- you can ask a supplier to repeat or fix a service if it is not carried out with reasonable care and skill, or (more relevant to a wedding or other one off event) get some money back
- if you have not agreed a price upfront, what you are asked to pay must be reasonable
- if you have not agreed a time upfront, the services must be carried out within a reasonable time
Writing a will
It’s not the most romantic thing to think about but a will is an important legal document that gives you the opportunity to set out your wishes and determine how your assets (or estate) will be dealt with when you die. If you already have a will in place, you do need to review this after or before your marriage as marriage will automatically revoke an existing will unless that will has been made expressly in contemplation of your impending marriage. Our Trusts and Estates team who would be more than happy to answer any queries you have and to prepare a will for you.
Where are you both going to live? You may decide to move homes before or shortly after your wedding. You will need to think how you wish to own the property with your partner. Again, not the most romantic thing to think about but you may need to consider what you wish to happen on the death of you or your partner or in the event of a relationship breakdown.
You may own the property either as joint tenants or as tenants in common. Under a joint tenancy arrangement, you and your partner would own the property jointly and in equal shares and upon the death of one party, the property will automatically vest in the survivor. In this scenario there is no share capable of being left in the will. However, you will need a will to determine what will happen to the property in the event that you both die.
As tenants in common, you and your partner would take distinct fixed shares in the value of the property. This will usually be equal shares unless you specify unequal shares, for example to reflect contributions to the purchase price. Upon the death of one party, the survivor would retain their own share in the property whilst the share of deceased would pass according to their will or pursuant to intestacy rules if there was no will.
Moving homes can be a stressful time especially whilst planning your wedding. Our conveyancing team can advise you of your options and support you through the process so that it runs as smoothly as possible.
We wish you good luck in your planning but if you would like more information about the issues above or any queries you may have, Talk to Tollers on 01604 258558.