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What Rights Do We Have If We Live Together?

May 13, 2015

For many couples, making the decision to live together can be the next step in commitment. There may not be much thought put into the legal implications of cohabitation, which is fine at the beginning, when the relationship is probably on good ground.

However if things do become strained and there is discussion about splitting from each other, then it is really important to understand exactly what your rights are as cohabitees and where you live together for the whole of your lives without getting married, it is even more important to know what measures you should put in place to ensure that if one of you dies, the other is not left in financial trouble.

Despite the myth of common law partners, cohabitees have no legal rights regardless of the number of years you have lived with your partner. Therefore, it is important to put together an agreement, usually called a cohabitation agreement with your partner right at the start of your new living arrangements. This agreement could help you to avoid any disputes or disagreements in the event of you ending your relationship.

Your cohabitation agreement will cover all the basic issues that come up when living with someone. It will include:

  • Buying a property - will it be jointly owned?
  • How will any repairs or maintenance bills be financed and how will they be shared?
  • What situations would prompt the house to be sold?
  • Will you have a joint bank account and who will operate this?
  • Will you have joint credit cards?
  • What will happen to the house if you die?You must make a Will to protect yourself, your partner and any children you have.
  • What happens if you become unable to make decisions for yourself? Will you appoint the other person as your Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) 

You can see that there are some quite big decisions to make when putting together a cohabitation agreement and many people will not give them a second thought. However, some preparation and planning can help to offer you both the security you need.

If you would like more information about making a cohabitation agreement or making a Will to protect your partner should you die, please call Sandra Machin or Karen Legg on 01264 353411 or email our family team: family@bsandi.co.uk and Sandra or Karen will be happy to help.


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