One in every six couples in England and Wales are living with their partners but are not married. This is frequently referred to as cohabitation. At some stage you or your partner is likely to need the help of a solicitor because the law does not provide the same rights for unmarried partners as for married partners.
It is more sensible and cost effective to seek legal advice whilst everything is running smoothly than to wait until the situation occurs where you have no alternative other than to seek legal advice. You should therefore:
Consider Making a Will
If someone dies without making a will there is a strict legal order dictating who can inherit and when. It does not provide for unmarried partners or for same sex partners who have entered into civil partnerships no matter how long you have been together.
If you don’t make a will benefiting your partner then he or she may be left without a home and some distant relative who you have had no contact with could benefit instead. If you have a young child you may have to make a claim against your deceased partner’s estate to get money to raise your child. If there is a will you will inherit automatically
Consider Making a Lasting Power of Attorney
A lasting power of attorney is a legal document that enables someone to appoint one or more persons to manage their financial affairs and property either immediately or in the future and/or to deal with their personal welfare when they are mentally incapable of making those decisions for themselves. If you or your partner become incapable of managing your own affairs and there is no lasting power of attorney then it probably won’t be you who is appointed to manage their affairs.
Consider Entering into a Cohabitation Agreement
If an unmarried couple breaks up there is no legal formula to say who gets what. A cohabitation agreement can reflect how the property is owned, who contributed what to the purchase price and how any future profit should be divided on any sale. It can also cover things like savings, investments and even pets.
We suggest you discuss these issues with your partner and then give Druitts a call and we can advise you on what protective measures should be put in place to avoid future stress.
If you do find that your relationship has broken down and you don’t have any of these protective measures in place then call us immediately and we can advise you on what to do.
If you would like to discuss your situation then please contact our family department by email or telephone on 01202 551863.