If you are intending to purchase a property with your partner, we advise you to consider protecting your contributions (and any contributions received from the bank of Mum and Dad) towards the purchase price. A declaration of trust can be drawn up by our property lawyers which sets out your specific interests and ownership in the property. In addition a Cohabitation Agreement may be advisable.
Many people now choose to cohabit and are unaware that there is little legal protection for cohabitees, who are not married or in civil partnerships. No matter how long the relationship, there is no such thing as 'common law' husbands/wives and cohabitees have no automatic right to a financial claim against their ex-partner. In some cases, claims can be made under Property Law but this is a particularly complex area so can be costly to resolve. We understand that splitting up is not something any couple wants to think about when moving in together however discussing and planning at this stage will give you peace of mind and can minimise the risk of stressful and costly arguments about money.
If you do not intend to marry or enter a civil partnership but want legal protection in the event that your relationship breaks down a 'Cohabitation Agreement' can be drawn up to include:-
- Who owns what, including; property, savings, shares, personal belongings and how they should be divided if you separate;
- Day to day financial issues such as who pays the mortgage and household bills and in what proportion;
- Financial support both during the period of cohabitation and if the cohabitation comes to an end;
- Whether or not you want each other to be able to claim against the other's estate in the event of death.
Many people are not aware that if cohabitees have lived together for a period 2 years or more a claim may be brought, by the survivor, against the deceased's estate in the event that they are not provided for in the deceased's Will. If there is no Will, a cohabitee is not entiled to benefit under the intestacy rules.
There are many other issues which can be covered in a Cohabitation Agreement which we can discuss with you, taking in to account your needs and requirements.
Cohabitation Agreements are more likely to be upheld by the court if you have both taken independent legal advice and have disclosed your financial circumstances to each other.
In reality, where you have discussed all the eventualities and had a Cohabitation Agreement drawn up, there is less likelihood of an argument about finances and therefore the courts would not need to be involved.
To arrange a free no obligation initial consultation please call Matthew Sterling on 01539 720049 or complete the form below.