Many LGBT cohabiting couples believe they form a “common law marriage”, with the same rights and protections as those who are married or in a civil partnership, but this is simply not the case.
For example, unmarried couples have no guaranteed rights to ownership of each others property should the relationship break down. Likewise, if a cohabiting partner dies without leaving a will, the surviving partner doesn’t automatically inherit their estate.
You may wish to get married or enter into a civil partnership to gain the same legal rights, but this isn’t for everyone. Otherwise, there are a couple of legal options to consider that can protect you and your spouse when you move in together.
A cohabitation agreement is a legal document that sets out what would happen should you separate, including the division of assets such as property and savings.
Whilst it’s not nice to think about the relationship failing, putting in place a cohabitation agreement can help with communication and reduce any bitterness should the relationship break down.
Writing a will
Should the worst happen you’ll want peace of mind that your partner will be looked after. By writing a will you can ensure that your estate, including any property that isn’t jointly owned, goes straight to your partner.
If you’re interested in putting cohabitation agreement in place as you enter the next chapter of your relationship, or if you’re ready to write your will, please contact our team to arrange an appointment.