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Woolley & Co latest 

Free pre-nups show importance of being prepared

Prenuptial agreements may traditionally have been something for the rich and famous, but increasingly couples with more modest lifestyles are now drawing up the documents, according to a leading nationwide firm of solicitors.

The bitter battle fought by former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney and estranged wife Heather Mills has again brought into the spotlight the problems that can be caused when relationships break down with no agreement drawn up on how assets should be split.

In October 2006 in a bid to encourage more couples to formalise their legal standing even if they are not tying the knot, Woolley & Co - a pioneering virtual legal firm specialising in family and business law - invited people to register for the chance of claiming a free pre-nuptial agreements through its family website www.family-lawfirm.co.uk

"Many people still view pre-nuptial agreements as distasteful or perhaps just appropriate for the rich and famous. The reality is that they are more relevant now than ever for many people and very simple to sort out," said Andrew Woolley, senior partner at the company, which is this year celebrating ten years in practice.

"The current problems between Paul McCartney and Heather Mills show one extreme of how bad things can get if arrangements aren't laid out from the start.

"Of course, the average couple don't have to worry about splitting £850 million, but more people than ever are setting up home together. And with second marriages and people getting married later than ever, it sometimes means that substantial assets, for example from the sale of property, are bought into the relationship.

"Getting a document drawn up when making a commitment means that, if the worst does happen and things go wrong, there is no fighting over who gets what.

"Those getting married should consider it for the same reason. Some people have said it takes the romance out of getting married but it is simply an inexpensive way of planning for the unexpected in the future."

A simple "pre-nup" can be drawn up for as little as £975 plus VAT. Woolley & Co has family law experts across the Midlands, East Anglia and South West who can help people decide what sort of agreement would be best for them. The team includes a number of experts in the division of assets where businesses are involved.

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