Recent figures reveal that cohabiting couples are the fastest growing family type in the UK. Cohabiting couples account for around 17.5 per cent of families in the UK and this is set to rise. Unfortunately, many people still wrongly believe that as a “common-law partner” they will benefit from the same legal rights as those in legal unions. The reality is that if you live together you are not afforded the same legal rights as married couples or civil partners. Often cohabiting partners put off making a Will and assume that their assets and benefits will automatically pass to their partner. However, this is not always the case. The only automatic rights available is in relation to jointly owned property or financial provision for any children under 18 where both parties are the parents. All other claims such as contributions to mortgage repayments, home improvements, contributing to the purchase or claims made under the Provision for Family and Dependants Act 1975 will result in litigation costs. No one likes to think about what would happen when they or their partner dies. But having a valid Will and getting your financial affairs in order will ensure the people you want to benefit will inherit your estate.
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