4th May 2023

Cohabitation and Later Life Planning

The number of couples opting to live with one another without entering into a marriage or civil partnership is on the rise. Unfortunately, there are many couples who are unaware of their legal rights as they are under the impression, they have the fallback of being a ‘common law wife/husband’. This is a myth.

Currently, English law does not provide an unmarried couple the same rights as a married couple. It is yet to be seen as to whether there will be any changes in the law concerning unmarried couples given the increase of couples who are cohabiting. However, at this moment in time, unmarried couples must take extra care when planning for later life. These are a few of the more common concerns for cohabiting couples…


I put in more money when buying our home; can I protect my interest if we split?

A home is normally a person’s most valuable asset. Protecting your interest is sensible and on occasions, necessary, to avoid an ex-partner walking away with a greater share. Speak to a Solicitor to discuss how to ensure a fair division of the proceeds in the event of a sale.


What happens if I die without a Will?

A person who dies without a Will dies intestate and their estate is distributed in accordance with the Intestacy Rules. Therefore, even if you are living with your partner, they may not be automatically entitled, and your estate could pass to your children, parents or siblings.


We own our property jointly; do I need a Will?

Even if you own your home in joint names, there are two ways in which a property can be held and only one enables your share to pass to your partner automatically. If your share does not pass automatically, and you die intestate, your share will pass as per the Intestacy Rules and not to your partner regardless of them owning the other 50% share. A Will is vital to ensure your partner can remain in the family home.


Will more Inheritance Tax (IHT) need to be paid?

There are tax advantages for married couples or Civil Partners. In contrast, unmarried couples could find themselves paying more IHT as a result of transfers between them being potentially subject to IHT and allowances not capable of being transferred.


Planning for later life can be daunting and not always on the top of everyone’s to-do list. However, simplifying complicated matters and putting your affairs in order is what we at Buss Murton Law do best. If any of the above resonated with you, please contact one of our professionals. Spending a little now could save you a lot later.

Jemini Chavda

Jemini Chavda