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What Can Cohabiting Couples do to Protect Their Assets

The latest Scottish Household Survey has revealed that the vast majority of Scots are not married or in a civil partnership.

As such, we take a look at the findings in regards to family law and assess what you may need to do in order to protect yourself from some of the issues affecting others in Scotland.

Findings of the Scottish Household Survey

The study found that more than a third of Scots have never been married or been in a civil partnership or same-sex civil partnership. According to the study, 47% of Scots are married with 8% divorce. 2% were separated but not yet divorced while 7% were widowed. The vast majority of those aged between 16-24 (96%) had not been married.

The report found that the most common living situation was marriage and cohabitation without any legal bind. However, there are some issues that can arise as a result of this. Therefore, we take a look at some of the options for cohabiting couples so that they can protect their own assets even if they are sharing their life and their possessions with another.

Best Options for Cohabiting Couples

If you are cohabiting but are not keen to get married or form a civil partnership, there are a few simple steps you can take to ensure that financial and personal affairs are protected.

Create a Will

Drawing up a will is one of the most vital things you can do if you are a cohabiting couple. Despite changes to the rules of intestacy last October, cohabitants do not automatically have rights to their partner’s estate if they die without leaving a will. Although a DIY will could be used, with a complex relationship (by not being married) it could be worthwhile enlisting the help of a solicitor. Creating a will that is legally binding and has been checked by a solicitor can allow you to ensure that your affairs are taken care of and that your partner is looked after when you are gone.

Create a Cohabitation Agreement

Creating a cohabitation agreement could be exceptionally useful for you and your partner and provide peace of mind for your relationship and your assets. A cohabitation agreement outlines exactly what each partner is bringing to the relationship and how said assets should be divided if there is a separation. A cohabitation agreement could include property, contents, savings and even how much each person has contributed to a mortgage or a joint account.

Cohabiting couples have no legal rights to remain in a property or share assets not owned by them should they split up. Thus it is useful to have a guide on how items will be distributed on separation.

If a property is owned by one partner but where the other has helped to pay the mortgage a cohabitation agreement can be exceptionally useful as without this the partner who does not own the property could find they have no right to a share of the home.

As well as such an agreement pension planning and property planning are also worth looking into when cohabiting.

Contact Us

If you require any legal advice or representation regarding a cohabitation agreement of if you wish to set one up, contact us today using our online contact form.

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