Fi­nan­cial se­cu­rity for you and your loved ones

The Tribune (NZ) - - TERRACE END -

Life is full of twists and turns, some we eas­ily ne­go­ti­ate while oth­ers can be ex­tremely dif­fi­cult to man­age and can re­sult in a great deal of stress. Mar­riage, chil­dren, prop­erty and busi­ness own­er­ship, oc­cu­pa­tion and health can quite sud­denly turn from good to bad, which can re­sult in ex­treme emo­tional up­heaval as well as fi­nan­cial prob­lems. In dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tions, while we can­not con­trol how we may feel emo­tion­ally, we are able to re­duce the stress around fi­nances by fol­low­ing sound pro­fes­sional ad­vice.

As­so­ciate So­lic­i­tor at Ter­race End Law, Mary Spil­lane’s area of ex­per­tise is re­la­tion­ship prop­erty. Mary has worked at Ter­race End Law for six years and says re­la­tion­ship prop­erty is not only con­cerned with peo­ple who are sep­a­rat­ing, it is also about plan­ning ahead and mak­ing fi­nan­cial ar­range­ments that will pro­vide se­cu­rity for your fam­ily and loved ones in the fu­ture.

Re­la­tion­ship prop­erty law of­ten in­volves trusts and wills as well as is­sues around sep­a­ra­tion. Hav­ing a se­cure fi­nan­cial plan will en­sure that all par­ties have clar­ity about their fi­nan­cial po­si­tion. This is es­pe­cially im­por­tant with the in­creas­ing num­ber of blended fam­ily re­la­tion­ships.

Mary says that more peo­ple are mov­ing into new re­la­tion­ships with a com­bi­na­tion of hers, his as well as, pos­si­bly, their own chil­dren, plus many new part­ners will have their own, sep­a­rate prop­erty and/or busi­ness in­ter­ests. If the worst were to sud­denly hap­pen, both part­ners need to have the knowl­edge and con­fi­dence that ei­ther part­ner will be fi­nan­cially se­cure as well as be­ing able to pro­vide for any chil­dren of their re­la­tion­ship, as well as any chil­dren of an ear­lier re­la­tion­ship.

Where a con­tract­ing out agree­ment has been agreed to by both par­ties it will over-ride the law of equal shar­ing which is em­bod­ied in the Prop­erty (Re­la­tion­ships) Act. How­ever, if an agree­ment does not com­ply with the for­mal­i­ties re­quired by the law, th­ese are at risk of be­ing over-turned by the court if one party chal­lenges its va­lid­ity.

Mary stresses: ‘‘To avoid un­cer­tainty in the fu­ture, an agree­ment must be pre­pared and wit­nessed by a lawyer who is con­ver­sant in the law of re­la­tion­ship prop­erty.’’

With any con­tract­ing out agree­ment, it will need to be re­viewed pe­ri­od­i­cally, as life’s cir­cum­stances will inevitably change, es­pe­cially as we get older. Mary points out that by reg­u­larly re­view­ing the agree­ment, all par­ties can feel se­cure about their fi­nan­cial fu­ture.

Any sud­den change is stress­ful and mar­i­tal sep­a­ra­tion can be an ex­tremely dif­fi­cult pe­riod for peo­ple. Mary ac­cepts that a big part of her role is re­as­sur­ing peo­ple in this sit­u­a­tion that there is a light at the end of the tun­nel. ‘‘The whole process can take a great deal of hard work as it’s not just about the money in the bank; it’s a com­plete up­heaval to the tapestry of a client’s life. When a re­la­tion­ship breaks down emo­tions can run high and where prop­erty and/or debt are in­volved then both part­ners should con­sult with a lawyer to gain ad­vice and an un­der­stand­ing of what the fi­nan­cial im­pli­ca­tions will be.’’

For more in­for­ma­tion on re­la­tion­ship prop­erty agree­ments, con­tact Mary at Ter­race End Law on (06) 3555303 or call into their of­fice at 326 Broad­way Av­enue.

Ter­race End As­so­ciate So­lic­i­tor Mary Spil­lane is an ex­pert in re­la­tion­ship prop­erty.

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