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How Unmarried Couples Who Live Together Can Protect Their Interests

How Unmarried Couples Who Live Together Can Protect Their Interests

It is common for many couples to live together long-term without getting married, irrespective of whether or not they are planning to do so in the future. Couples living with each other sometimes wrongly believe that they can exercise the same legal rights as spouses or civil partners when it comes to ownership of financial assets in situations of the death of one of them, or the break up of the relationship.

Regardless of the length of time of your relationship, there is little to no legal privilege in regard to your finances. In absence of the default protection that marriage gives (or common-law marriage in countries where that has some legal recognition), you will have to do something extra.

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In order to protect yourself and your interests, and also those of your partner, you need to be aware of your rights and strengthen them where possible.

Financial Protection For Couples Who Cohabitate

With respect to financial protection for unmarried couples, there are certain voluntary arrangements that can ensure rights equivalent to married couples.[1] Making a will is one of them.

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Despite recent rumors that UK intestacy laws, which set out how property is inherited on the death of a partner who has not made a will, would undergo changes, mainly as a result of the Law Commission’s recommendations that change is needed, cohabitating, unmarried couples have not been given automatic rights to inherit a partner’s property after their death.

The legal position may change in the future, but for now it is safest to make a will.

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So, to protect your interests in the case of partner’s death or break-up – couples living together should assess all parts of their life together. This includes childcare arrangements, property ownership, and financial provisions. A declaration of trust arrangement and a cohabitation agreement can help.

They are legally binding and can help in determining the ownership of assets.

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  • The declaration of trust, or deed of trust, sets out clearly all assets that each partner owns at the start of a relationship. It also entails what would happen to these assets if the couple splits up. You can treat it like a contract in which payment of bills and extra value, such as home improvement payments, can be settled or divided. It is basically linked to particular properties.
  • A cohabitation agreement is a “living together agreement” that covers daily matters like the household expenses and other relationship-specific circumstances. It can include details like childcare finances, school fees of kids, joint accounts, and paying debts. Such agreements cannot be altered without the approval of both.
  • Each partner is entitled to equal property rights in the case of a legal marriage, irrespective of who owns, maintains, or pays mortgage for it. But, for live-in couples, things are not that easy. All contributions, such as a mortgage or cash investments, should be included in the declaration of trust.
  • Also, couples buying a house together need to ensure that an appropriate legal structure is used so that ownership of the property automatically passes on to the partner after the death of the other. This is known as “joint tenancy”. Under this, both partners are property owners, such that if one dies, the survivor becomes the sole owner.
  • Under the new auto-enrollment scheme, all employees of an organization pay into the same workplace pension. Be aware that cohabitating couples cannot automatically claim any pension money due to their partner if their partner dies after or before retirement.
  • Investments and savings also need to be included in the cohabitation agreement. Otherwise, you will have no legal right to the wealth after splitting up or the death of a partner. You can agree between you that if investments and savings are jointly owned, both contributors get back the same proportions, as whatever they contributed after the relationship ends.
  • Consider this warning as well. If the couple is using a bank account for joint finances – a joint account – then this account needs to be listed in the cohabitation agreement. For jointly owned bank accounts, both partners have equal rights to the money in that account. Also consider what happens in the case of death. If the account is really just owned by one person and the other accesses it, a surviving partner will have no right to the money.
  • Child maintenance can also be claimed from an ex-partner. More extensive financial provisions can be added in the cohabitation agreement, but be aware that child arrangements are ultimately decided by a judge. Even children who are not related biologically to either or one of the partners, but who are family members, will be entitled to be maintained.

Living together and investing in property with your partner is an incredible experience, but be smart and protect yourself and your interests during a relationship.

Featured photo credit: betterment.com via betterment.com

Reference

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Adnan Manzoor

Data Analyst & Life Coach

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Last Updated on August 15, 2018

30 Fun Things You Can Do This Summer Without Spending Much

30 Fun Things You Can Do This Summer Without Spending Much

Summertime can be a real strain on your wallet. The sun is out, there are people to see, places to be; it’s no wonder you might be short of funds during these sunny months. Not everything has to cost you an arm and a leg.

Take some time to go through this list of 20 cheap summer activities and make some realistic goals to complete as many as you can.

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1. Visit a strawberry festival

Summer is prime time for tasting strawberries. More often than not, an area that grows strawberries will have a strawberry festival. Indulge yourself in strawberry pies, jams, cakes and more!

2. Have a picnic

Take your partner or your family to the local park and enjoy a relaxing picnic. Designate each person to bring one food item of their choice to add to the fun.

3. Camp in your back yard

    The summer heat can sometimes make it hard to sleep. Why not enjoy the heat outside in the yard? Pitch a tent or gaze into the night sky.

    4. Take long walks

    Discover something new where you live. Take the afternoon off from your chores and go for a long walk. You may be surprised by what you discover.

    5. Break a world record

    Breaking a world record doesn’t have to be time-consuming. You could even break one on your lunch hour. Give it a go!

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    6. Go on a bike ride

    The number of bike paths on roads in big cities has increased dramatically over the years. Take advantage, and enjoy the summer breeze.

    7. Join a gym class

      The gym is not everyone’s idea of a good time, but why not go with a friend a join a class? Spinning, yoga and step classes are always more fun with friends, and a lot of gyms allow you to pay-as-you-go.

      8. Find a new hobby

      The summer is the perfect time to find a new hobby. Serotonin (our body’s natural “happy” hormone) is produced by the sunshine and will be at a yearly high, which is great for when we want to tackle something new.

      9. Join a sports team

      Not all sports teams are competitive and require huge amounts of your time. Join in the fun with like-minded people, get fit, stay healthy and make some friends along the way.

      10. Make a slip ‘n slide

        Gather your friends, some plastic sheeting, a hose, washing up liquid if desired, and make a huge slip ‘n slide just like these guys. Granted, yours won’t be as big, but you get the idea… it’s fun!

        11. Make a treasure hunt for your kids

        Today’s digital world sees our children more often than not playing inside than outside. Why not create a sense of adventure by making a treasure hunt? Only rule? It has to be outside.

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        12. Visit a free festival

        Towns and cities are awash with free festivals, with themes from film to science. Scout your local area and discover something new.

        13. Visit the zoo

          Let’s face it: we love animals. While browsing news websites and social media networks you’re bound to come across a few pictures of cats. Take a trip to your local zoo for a better experience.

          14. Take a road trip

          Enjoy the open road with a few friends and take a road trip somewhere–anywhere. Just go out and enjoy the sunshine!

          15. Play ultimate frisbee in the park

            Frisbee is always great fun down the park, but why not turn it into more of a competitive sport by playing ultimate frisbee?

            16. Make your own ice cream

            Ice cream is a very versatile dessert. Make a sandwich, enjoy a cone, or simply just enjoy a bowl full. Better yet, making your own ice cream allows you to create any flavor you want.

            17. Invite your neighbors over for a BBQ

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              When was the last time you invited your neighbors over? Do you even know them? Now’s your chance. Just ask each person to bring a food item so costs don’t mount up for you.

              18. Get a summer job

              For many students, summer is the time for relaxation and fun. But who said earning money and being productive isn’t fun? You only get out what you put into a situation.

              19. Attend a charity event

              Attending a charity event is a great way to raise funds and awareness for a cause, meet new people, and generally have a good time. Search for your local charity event today.

              20. Visit a national park

              National parks are a great way to explore nature and learn something new. You could even volunteer and make a difference in helping restore natural habitats.

              21. Visit your local comedy club

                Local comedy clubs are extremely underrated. They are cheap to attend and no doubt you’ll have a barrel of laughs.

                22. Make your own hammock

                  Hammocks are very relaxing, are perfect for summer afternoons and are surprisingly easy to make.

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                  23. Read in your new hammock

                  Now you have your very own hammock, the only thing left to do is enjoy it. Grab your favorite book and read to your heart’s content.

                  24. Watch a movie outside

                  Movies are great. Relaxing outside in the evening is great. Put them together and you’ve got a perfect combination. In D.C, Maryland and Virginia this summer, for example, you can enjoy a huge number of movies outside.

                  25. Take a hike

                    Hikes are a great way to keep fit and see more of Mother Nature. There are countless trails available for you to explore. Why not try some this summer?

                    26. Learn how to fly a kite

                    As a child, you probably had a kite and haven’t touched it since. Why not dust it off and attempt to fly it? It’s tricky, but well worth the challenge.

                    27. Work out at the park

                    American cities are full of parks with ample space for a work out session. No doubt you’ll be happier to work out in the sun rather than a crowded gym.

                    28. Take your dog to the beach

                      One of the many joys of owning a dog is taking him or her for long walks during the summertime. This joy is enhanced when visiting the beach, for both you and your dog.

                      29. Make a summer smoothie

                      Healthy, delicious and perfect for the summer. Not only that, there are countless recipes ready for you to try.

                      30. Attend a free yoga session at the beach

                      No experience needed and all skill levels are welcome. Take yourself and a buddy down to the beach and try some yoga. You’ve got nothing to lose!

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