A recent report published by the Office of National Statistics show that half of the population are now married and that one in six couples now cohabit. For those cohabiting it is important that they are aware that there is no such term as “common law marriage”. Just by living together for a long period of time does not give couples who are not married the same or similar rights to those who are married. If you are cohabiting you may find your financial position is precarious if your relationship were to break down as you would not have the same rights as those couples who are married. There are however ways to protect yourself. At Carr & Co we have specialists to assist you every step of the way.
If you intend to share your home together then it is advisable for you to show your clear intentions of cohabitation. If the property is purchased in Joint Names then it is important to have a document registered with the Title Deeds to show the terms of ownership. This document is known as a “Declaration of Trust” which will outline what shares you are each entitled to and what would happen if either of you wanted the property to be sold. Agreeing it at the outset will ensure that there is no room for dispute later on if either of you cannot agree.
It is advisable to enter into one of these when moving in together so that you can indicate your intentions as to how assets should be owned and what would be your intentions if you were to separate. A Cohabitation Agreement is binding in law and can protect any future claims.
Who would benefit from your Pension?
Unmarried couples would not benefit from Pension Sharing which is available for those couples who are divorcing. If you are not married you would not have a claim on your partner’s pension. You can however protect yourselves whilst you are together by nominating each other to be the beneficiary on death of any pensions you each may have. This would ensure that as far as the pension is concerned, the surviving partner is provided for.
Life Insurance and Income Protection Insurance Insure your lives and income to make sure that you are both protected if anything were to happen to either of you. This is especially important if either of you significantly contribute to the household finances or have children.
Make a Will
If either or you were to die without having made a Will provision the surviving partner is not automatically entitled to the other’s estate. This is called dying intestate. Ensure you provide for your loved ones and make a Will. If all else fails…….GET MARRIED or enter into a CIVIL PARTNERSHIP.
For specialist advice on cohabitation or any of the above related issues contact one of our family specialists today.