In recent decades, couples living together in the UK have increased significantly. Whether the result of economic recession or other social dynamics, co-habitation is on the rise and at least six million couples share the same house without being married in the UK today – twice the number it used to be 20 years ago.
However, many couples fail to understand that cohabitation is not a legal status as opposed to marriage or a civil partnership. Luckily, there are steps that can be taken in order to look after that their financial assets. An experienced solicitors in Portsmouth, such as Andrew & Andrew, can guide unmarried couples through the procedure of securing their estate if they plan to remain unmarried.
The importance of a will
Despite recent changes to the rules of intestacy in 2014, couples living together without being married do not have automatic inheritance rights. For this reason, asking the help of solicitors in Portsmouth to help draft a will is really important. A will is legally binding document that cannot be disputed under normal circumstances and essentially describes the deceased’s wishes after they are no longer around. The key is to create a document that will protect a person’s cohabitant and grant them part or their entire estate when they are gone. This way family members cannot have excessive claims or be the sole beneficiaries of the estate of the deceased.
Drafting a cohabitation agreement
A cohabitation agreement is a legally recognised document that describes in detail the financial assets of each cohabitant during the cohabitation and dictates how they should be divided if the relationship comes to an end. Solicitors in Portsmouth strongly advise for a cohabitation agreement, especially if the couple is sharing a house they have bought together or if there is a joint mortgage involved. Cohabitation agreements are also important in case the house is owned by one partner and the other partner has nowhere to live after a break-up. In this case, a cohabitation agreement also protects the owner of the house from any claims brought forward by their ex-partner. Last but not least, cohabitation agreements can cover childcare provisions if children are involved and/or every daily matters of potential conflict.