When you start a new relationship, most of us hope it’s for the long run. However, for many couples although they have a long term relationship, they don’t wish to get married. If you have made the choice not to get married, you will probably still have entered into a complete life together – or plan to. Unfortunately though, many people don’t realise that unmarried couples are still not recognised in law – and they can find themselves in a financial tangle when circumstances change.
Although in recent years there have been proposals and recommendations to give couples who live together greater rights and protection, the Government hasn’t as yet announced any clear legislation. So for couples who are not married or in a civil partnership, there still exists a great deal of insecurity on their financial affairs.
In this two-part piece, we explore your financial options in the case of separation or death if you are one-part of an unmarried couple.
It’s never comfortable preparing to part. To be honest, rather you than me. I have never done this and probably won’t with the current girlfriend or the one after her. She doesn’t know I’m writing this by the way.
But essentially if you share a family home then you may retain some rights to the property if you’ve contributed to it in some way or another, this is basically known as an implied trust, learn more about it here: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/relationships/relationship-problems/relationship-breakdown-and-housing/if-you-live-with-your-partner-relationship-breakdown-and-housing/if-you-live-with-your-partner-and-you-own-your-home-relationship-breakdown-and-housing/relationship-breakdown-and-housing-beneficial-interest-if-your-partner-owns-the-home/
This can create a right headache if things were to go downhill, so the sensible thing to do may be to have that difficult conversation and negotiate what is called a Cohabitation or Living Together Agreements. These agreements are like a contract and make clear what would happen regarding your home or joint assets in the event of your relationship ending.
If you aren’t married or in a civil partnership, what does require some serious thinking about is what would happen in the event of the death of one of you. Now this should be a conversation all couples should have especially if you have children.
If you have a pension scheme it will be prudent to make sure you have nominated your partner to receive the funds in the event of your death. You can do this by contacting your pension provider. This will make sure that they receive the benefits and it doesn’t become tangled up with claims made by your long lost brother living in Australia. Not doing this, could delay your surviving partner receiving the much-needed income.
Life insurance plans – whether as part of your mortgage or otherwise – are a very good idea and can be put under trust for your partner and at least another beneficiary, so trustees have a discretion to whom to pay proceeds to. If you have children together, they can also be included. Discretion is important so trust assets are not deemed to be in the estate of any single beneficiary.
Disclaimer: The information contained within this article are provided as illustrative purposes only based on legislation at the time of publication. Nothing in this article should be construed as advice or guidance to one’s personal situation. The value of your investments may go up and down, similarly, other aspects of your wider lifestyle and financial context may impact on your objective. In a nutshell, don’t rely on blogs and the articles for personal advice, and always seek advice from a qualified professional.