The Office of National Statistics (ONS) has recently published statistics revealing that the number of marriages on record is at an all time low. One of the reasons behind this is that more people are opting to live together. If you are living with your partner, this article gives you some tips on how you can protect your interests and your contributions.
The law and cohabitees
So, what law is out there designed specifically for cohabitees? The answer is simple, there isn’t one. Just because you have been living with someone does not mean you are guaranteed an interest in the place that you have called home. If you wanted to pursue a claim to a property, you would have to apply under the area of law of trusts. Even then the court does not have to declare you as the legal owner.
If you are living with a partner, what can you do before it gets too late?
Firstly, think about making a will that provides for both you and your partner. If one of you dies without leaving a will, the surviving cohabitant has no automatic right under the intestacy rules to inherit anything. A surviving cohabitant may be able to make a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. However, a cohabitant is not treated in exactly the same way as a surviving spouse.
If you are about to buy a property with your partner and are putting in more towards the purchase than they are, you should consider entering into a ‘declaration of trust’ which reflects this.
Another consideration is preparing a cohabitation agreement. Whilst it may not seem very romantic to have to prepare an agreement about what should happen if you split up, properly prepared cohabitation agreements can be a good way of protecting your contributions.
If you have any questions regarding cohabitation and where you stand legally, if you are having difficulties in your relationship and would like to explore your options, or you are about to buy a property and would like to talk about protecting your interest, please call Imran Khodabocus on 01823 785070. Remember, your initial appointment with us is always free.