Cohabitation or Living Together
Although many people believe that couples living together enjoy the same rights as those who have married, this is not the case. There is no such status as a common law spouse. Therefore unmarried couples need to protect themselves from problems that may arise should the relationship come to an end or one of them dies.
It is advisable for couples who live together without marrying or registering a Civil Partnership to seriously consider the making of a properly drawn up agreement, particularly if they have children. Couples purchasing property jointly should agree on how the property will be settled if they separate.
Declaration of Trust
When buying a property you also need to consider a Declaration of Trust (also called a Trust Deed). This is a statement which indicates whether the property is to be held in equal or unequal shares. The declaration makes it clear how much property is owned by whom and states the contributions made by each person at the time of purchase. It also records what is to happen to the sale proceeds when the property is sold. As a further option the document can contain a right of first refusal in the event of one party wishing to dispose of their share in the property.