Wenup’s UK Prenup Guide | Wenup
Wenup’s UK Prenup Guide

Wenup’s UK Prenup Guide


Categories: Agreements

A prenup is an agreement entered into by two consenting adults prior to getting married, which outlines ownership of their respective assets and the plans to support any children, should a marriage not work out. This guide will go through everything that you need to know about prenups in the UK.

Why should one sign a prenup?

Gone are the days when prenups were only for the rich and famous to protect their vast fortunes. Today, people are marrying later and thus go into marriage with greater levels of personal wealth and are wanting to ensure that, if the marriage for one reason or another doesn’t work out, that they’re able to split on mutually pre-agreed terms in the knowledge that both parties are looked after. They’re also wanting to avoid the potential for acrimonious divorces often seen in the baby boomer generation. Prenups help mean that less is left to chance and the couple have some degree of say as to what happens in the future, helping them avoid caustic litigation in the family law courts. The mentality is changing around prenups and many people look at them as a means of open, honest financial planning for the couple's future together.

Is a prenup legally binding?

Prenups aren’t automatically legally binding in England and Wales because courts aren’t obliged to hold them up. However thanks to the landmark case Radmacher v Granatino (2010), prenups have become commonplace, accepted and generally get upheld by courts so long as they meet specific requirements.

This case highlighted a number of important attributes for prenups to be legally valid:

● Independent legal advice is essential

● Both parties need to understand the full financial implications of signing a prenup

● Each party must offer full disclosure of assets including liabilities and debts in the prenup.

● The needs of both parties must be met. In the case of Radmacher v Grantino there were children involved and as explored previously, their needs were paramount in the decisions made.

● The prenup must be voluntary

What should be included in the prenup?

This list starts with the number one factor in any prenup and continues on in no particular order.

1. Children: you may be surprised to learn that children and how they are to be supported is the number one priority in any prenup. If adequate provision for their support isn’t included, it’s unlikely that a prenup will stand up in its entirety

2. The family home: how will this be divided should the couple part ways?

3. Property: this refers to property that either side owned prior to marriage and has brought into the relationship

4. Money: This isn’t just bank balances. It’s also referring to stocks and shares (including cryptocurrencies) held by either party in joint or separate accounts.

5. Debts: If one or other side has debt, a prenup can limit debt liability on the other partner.

6. Chattels: Rather an archaic word to describe tangible, movable property – in other words something you can both touch and move. This could be jewellery or our favourite chattel here at wenup, pets!

7. Inheritance and Trusts: This looks at potential gains from future inheritance or trusts, which are due to mature.

What does a prenup cost and what legal advice is required?

Prenup costs vary massively. When we did some mystery shopping, it was challenging to confirm prenup pricing as most firms could only estimate the total cost as they could only confirm their pricing and for a prenup to be valid both parties require advice from independent law firms or barristers. With wenup, this comes as standard - neither of you needs to engage with any other law firm to get a legally valid prenup. Wenup uses separate top tier family law lawyers to complete your prenup. This brings us onto the next variable that drives up the cost of a prenup - the experience level of the lawyers that you use. Generally speaking, it is difficult to draft a prenup including legal representation for both sides for less for £3k. At the cheaper end, junior, less experienced lawyers were being used, which also increased the lead time of getting a prenup i.e the time in advance of the wedding that one would need to engage with lawyers before signing.

What’s the best way to discuss a prenup with my partner?

We’ve written an article about this, which you can read here . However in a nutshell, it’s worth leading with the benefits of a prenup to your relationship at a time and in an environment, which is comfortable for the both of you. It’s best to start the conversation earlier rather than later so that it feels natural and less reactive. Once you’ve agreed principles, don’t forget to log back into wenup to complete your prenup!

Once we’ve signed our prenup, what happens next?

Get married and live happily ever after we hope! However with most marriages, material circumstances change over its course. This could be children being born or inheritance being received by one party as examples. If there’s any significant material change once you’ve signed your prenup, we recommend telling us about it as we’ll likely need to update your prenup to reflect the new circumstances. It then becomes a postnup as you’re already married but in all other matters, remains the same. We recommend reviewing your prenup every 5 years as minimum as all prenups need to reflect the current material circumstance of the couple.