Shared banks accounts, insurance and wills are just some of the things that you need to think about when entering into a domestic partnership – be it marriage or de facto. Check out our top tips from Karen Deighton-Smith’s book “Your Wedding” a practical guide to organising the perfect wedding, published by Pan Macmillan.Financial planning

Before your wedding it is a good idea to discuss and agree on the financial arrangements you want to put in place during your married life. Differing attitudes to money are often a potent source of conflict and ill will, so it is important to establish the ground rules early on.

Decide what is join spending and how much each of you will contribute, who pays for what, how you will agree on spending priorities, how you are going to share bills and assets, and what sort of financial plans you want to make for the future.

You may decide to set up a joint bank account and put all your money into it. Alternatively, you might decide to deposit an agreed amount each month, with some money for personal spending going into your separate personal accounts. Some partners expect equal financial contributions at all time, especially if they have been financially independent for many years. This system can operate will while both partners are working, but it won’t run so well if one partner leaves paid employment for whatever reason. The change in the ability to financially contribute equally can often challenge deeply held convictions about financial responsibility and the definition and value of a contribution.


If one or both of you have private medical insurance, it is worthwhile reviewing your policies and deciding if they meet your needs as a couple and if there is any advantage in having a joint policy. You may also want to review other insurance policies, such as life insurance, income protection, mortgage protection, and house and contents insurance, to see if you still need them or if the details need to be updated to reflect your new status as a couple. This is also the time to update who will be the beneficiary of any superannuation entitlements.


A will helps to ensure that your wealth and possession got the people you want to have them. In Australia, if you die interstate (without a legal will) the public trustee in your state or territory will become the executor of your estate and will decide how your assets will be distributed, usually giving them the closest living relatives. Marriage automatically voids any will you made as a single person with your spouse becoming the main beneficiary to your estate in the event of your death.

It is important to consider how you want your assets divided in the event of death. What can be a relatively straightforward matter for couples marrying for the first time with no children from previous relationships can be more complicated for others with complex family and financial arrangement. Guardianship of any children from the marriage should also be considered. Ask your solicitor for advice on how best to draw up your wills to suit your needs.

In Australia, it is possible to draw up a legal will without a solicitor. There is a range of legal will kits available on the market for about the same price as a music CD, which will guide you through the process and supply forms for your to complete. Kits are sold in some bookshops, newsagencies, by direct mail and on the Internet. There are also websites giving advice on legal maters relating to will and some offer legal services to draw up your will.

— from “Your Wedding” a practical guide to organising the perfect wedding by Karen Deighton-Smith.