Living Together – You could be at risk
Cohabitation – Are you aware?
- If you are home owner – who will end up with the property if you split up?
- If you are a home owner – you may be vulnerable to an unnecessarily high Inheritance Tax bill?
- If you are a tenant and your name is not on the lease will you be homeless if you split up or your partner dies?
- What would happen if you died? Does your partner risk being left homeless?
- There is no such thing as ‘common law marriage’?
- If you are an unmarried father are you aware that you may have no legal rights over your own children?
- Living together without getting married is increasingly common. Latest statistics from 2015 show that an increasing number, now 16.4%, of British adults co-habit. Yet how many of them have taken any advice on the legal position? Probably, very few. The sensible thing to do is to take advice from a specialist family solicitor.
What can we do to help protect your position?
Bonallack & Bishop have particular expertise dealing with issues surrounding cohabitation – involving family law, property matters, wills and tax issues.
If you are a home owner you need to carefully consider your position. Do not assume just because you pay the mortgage that the house is yours. If you split up and both your names are on the deeds do you wish the house to be sold and divided equally immediately? Equally, if your name is not on the deeds are you aware that if you split up or if your partner dies you could end up homeless? Using our specialist knowledge of property law we can help you.
If you rent your home then who will end up with it if you split up? Equally, if your name is not on the lease and your partner dies or you split up then you risk finding yourself homeless. We can advise on the appropriate solution.
Inheritance tax no longer just affects the rich – with the average house worth over £200,000 co-habitees are especially vulnerable to large inheritance tax bills as they do not have the benefit of the special exemption available only to married couples. Proper advice from our tax planning solicitors incorporated into a Will can protect your position – and may save you many thousands of pounds.
If you are currently living together but thinking of getting married you might want advice on a prenuptial agreement. These are becoming increasingly popular. Although pre-nuptial agreements are not legally binding in England and Wales if they are prepared in accordance with the guidelines. However, if a pre-nuptial agreement is challenged it will record the parties intention upon separation.
Although, we often hear about pre-nuptial agreements being entered into prior to a marriage. It is possible for post-nuptial agreements to be prepared after a marriage takes place.
These are also gaining in popularity. If you live together and want to set out your wishes on the distribution of your property in the event that your relationship ends, contact our specialist family solicitors.
Are you aware that unmarried fathers do not automatically have any rights at all over their own children unless that child was born after December 1st 2004 and the father is named on the birth certificate? Our expert family solicitors can advise on your position and on the availability of Parental Responsibility Agreements and Residence Orders.
If you do not make a Will your property and other assets may not pass to whom you want and, in particular, your partner risks being left homeless – the only option may be expensive litigation without a guaranteed outcome. We would strongly advise you consider a Will as soon as possible to clarify how you wish to provide for your partner upon your death.