Setting Up Home with Tom, Dick or Harriet - Don't Forget Will!
- AuthorPaul Hajek
4 out of 5 couples who live together and are not married or in a civil partnership believe they do not need to make a Will. They believe that their property will automatically go to their cohabitee on death. The oft heard phrase “common law” wife simply does not exist in a legal context.
As well as making a Will there are other considerations before setting up home with your partner.
Here are our 5 Top Tips to put your house in order:
1. PUT the deeds of your property into joint names.
This way you will not encounter problems of sharing in the profits on sale, especially where you may have contributed to improving the property.
It also eliminates a potential crisis if the named owner asks you to leave the property.
2. DECIDE whether you would like to own the whole property jointly (known as a joint Tenancy) or whether you prefer a predetermined share e.g. 50/50 or 60/40
3. HOW do you want profits (and any losses) on sale divided?
If you have put in an unequal share rather than simply having your capital returned on sale or transfer, you can have your contribution expressed as a percentage.
This can be achieved again with your Conveyancing Solicitor by way of a document called a Declaration of Trust.
That way, if your relationship doesn’t work out each partner will know exactly how much of the net sale proceeds will be his or hers to receive. This avoids an area of potential conflict.
4. WORK OUT your ongoing running expenses for your new property.
From where and how will the expenditure be apportioned?
Again, if unequal you might consider a “Cohabitation Agreement” with the help of your Conveyancing Solicitor.
These documents are by no means uncommon, and both partners will benefit from full disclosure of finances and getting things of your mind right at the beginning.
The Deed could always be ripped up at a later date or reviewed and renewed as the partners see fit.
5. MAKE a WILL. This is essential advice, especially where you have decided to hold the property as Tenants in Common.
Without a Will there is no absolutely guarantee that the property will go to your partner on death. In fact, in the worst case scenario, with no agreement with the executors of the deceased partner, you might be forced to sell the property and only receive your original share.
In all cases, individual circumstances will vary, and you should obtain specific advice from your Conveyancing Solicitors.
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