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Co-Habitation

More and more of us are choosing to live with our partners without marrying.

What is the legal position?

  1. Over time, your financial affairs may become entangled.
  2. Any assets in your name or gifted to you by your partner will remain yours on separation. Any assets in your partner’s name or gifted to them, will remain theirs on separation. This includes all assets, savings, property, pensions and contents of a house.
  3. One party may become finically dependant on the other whilst contributing to the relationship in other ways, such as maintaining the house or caring for children. However, should there be a separation, the financial claims you would have had, had you been married, would not be available to you as a dependant spouse.
  4. If you have a property in one person’s name or a greater share in one person’s name, it will remain theirs. If then that person unexpectedly predeceases you without making a Will with a provision for you as a partner, you, as the surviving partner, may be rendered homeless or have to sell or raise a larger mortgage to release the deceased’s partner’s share to his or her estate.
  5. In these circumstances, claims by a surviving partner can be made under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act, but inevitably may cause delay, distress and the expense of litigation or negotiation.

Living together agreements

It is possible to record your financial intentions resulting from living together by entering into a Co-habitation Agreement.

  1. This is a personal agreement between the two of you and it is not ratified by the court.
  2. It simply records what you and your partner intend to happen with assets in each other’s names and the intention when assets are purchased using joint or sole bank accounts and savings.
  3. The agreement can also record what should happen to your finances and the content of a property in the unlikely event of a relationship breakdown. This acts as an insurance policy and does not have to be considered as encouraging fate or indicating mistrust.

Remember

It is important to make a Will. If you are not married to your partner they are not legally your next of kin.  If you do not wish your partner to become financially unstable at a traumatic time resulting from a loved one’s death, you should specify what is to be bequeathed to them in a Will.


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