Increasing numbers of people are choosing not to remarry after divorce. According to recent reports from the Office for National Statistics, almost two thirds of cohabitees over 65 have previously been divorced, and there are twice as many unmarried people within this age group than there were a decade ago. This increase may be contributed to several elements: less of a stigma attached to being divorced; longer lifespans, and therefore a longer period of retirement, or a reluctance to marry in order to secure the transfer of assets and wealth to children. For unmarried couples hoping to safeguard their investments, it’s important to be aware how to ensure that assets are passed onto the right people.
The easiest way to clearly outline your wishes is to draw up a cohabitation agreement with your partner. A cohabitation agreement is much like a prenuptial agreement and can be entered into at any point during your relationship. While not legally binding, a cohabitation agreement will act as a clear guide for how your assets are divided in the event of separation or death.
When drawing up a cohabitation agreement, you’ll need to review your assets and decide what percentage you intend to share or pass on to each other and any other family members. If you own property separately or together, a cohabitation agreement can clarify its fair division, detailing the contributions, mortgage payments and lump sums each of you have invested. There is also the option of setting up insurance policies, trusts, or transferring money as a gift to determine exactly where your savings go after your death.
Finally, keeping an updated and detailed will is the best way to ensure your assets are distributed according to your wishes. It’s important to review your will after any major life change –moving in with a new partner, buying or selling property, or acquiring any new investments.
If you need help with safeguarding your wealth, writing a cohabitation agreement, or drawing up a will, our finance experts at Frances Lindsay & Co will be happy to help! Visit us at www.franceslindsay.co.uk for a range of fixed-fee legal services available across the Thames Valley area.
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