Statistically more people are now living together than are marrying, so it is more important than ever to know where you stand if difficulties arise in the relationship.
Unfortunately, cases involving cohabitees can be complicated, with significant issues arising around each party’s financial contribution during the relationship and the fair distribution of assets.
There is no such thing as a common law husband or wife even when you have been together many years. You will need expert guidance through what is a complex area of law.Starting your relationship
If you purchase a property together, it will probably be the single biggest asset that you own. As such, it is important to determine whose name the property will be in, the value of each party’s contribution and how this is reflected.
You may wish to consider entering into a Cohabitation Agreement. This is a legal document which sets out the financial arrangements of your relationship and can be as detailed or straightforward as you wish.
During your relationship
You should give consideration to how your property is owned and what you would like to happen with your assets should one of you pass away. There is no automatic entitlement to your partner’s pension or death in service benefits. There is no automatic provision for maintenance between parties. The longer your relationship the more these matters need to be addressed. There have been many high-profile situations when following the death of a cohabitee, the survivor found themselves in a very vulnerable financial position. We can advise you on the options available to you across our business, including property purchases, the relationship itself and your Will and estate planning.
Ending the relationship
Sadly, if the relationship comes to an end you may want to consider a Deed of Separation that sets out the financial decisions you are about to make and provides evidence if they come under attack in the future. A Deed of Separation will also deal with any Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) or Land Transaction Tax (LLT) implications helping you to avoid a huge tax bill.
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