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Living together or planning to? Here’s why you need a cohabitation agreement

You’re in love, you’re buying a property, you’re not married – do you really need a cohabitation agreement?

The answer is a resounding ‘yes’ – and here are the reasons why.

What legal rights do I have as a cohabitee?

Unlike married couples, you have no automatic legal rights around finances and property – even if you’ve lived together for many years and have a family together.

This means that if something goes wrong and you split up, you may not be protected as you had hoped.

What exactly is a cohabitation agreement?

It’s a legal document between unmarried couples who are living together.

It sets out arrangements for finances and property while you are together and to cover what happens if you split up.

People who are not romantically involved, like friends or siblings, can enter into something called a declaration of trust, rather than a cohabitation agreement.

A declaration of trust records the ownership proportions of a shared property and sets out how any sale proceeds will be divided if the property is sold.

Cohabitation agreements are also known as ‘no nups’ or ‘living together agreements’.

How does a cohabitation agreement protect me?

A properly drawn cohabitation agreement is an uncomplicated and legally enforceable way of making sure you both know where you stand.

It details who owns what and in what proportions, what financial arrangements you have decided to make while living together and how property, assets and income should be divided if you split up.

While it’s best to get one drawn up before you move in together, you can make a cohabitation agreement at any time.

It can be as detailed as you want, covering contents, personal belongings, savings, pets and how much each of you contributed to the mortgage deposit and subsequent repayments.

A cohabitation agreement will not necessarily protect you in the event of death, however, so each party should also ensure they have a properly drawn up Will in place.

Click here to read our Legal Guide, ‘Cohabitation Agreements or No nups’.

Get in touch

For more information about cohabitation agreements, please contact Wards Solicitors’ specialist and highly experienced cohabitation team.

Solicitor Associates Lucia Mills and Georgia Wookey can talk you through what to do if you want to make a cohabitation agreement or enter into a declaration of trust and the vital importance of making a will if you’re cohabiting.

Email Lucia Mills: Lucia.Mills@wards.uk.com

Phone: 0117 9292811

Email Georgia: Georgia.Wookey@wards.uk.com

Phone: 01454 204899

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