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If you are an unmarried couple living together, you may wish to consider having a Living Together Agreement, otherwise known as a Cohabitation Agreement. The agreement can set out the arrangements which will apply while you are living together and those that will apply in the event of your relationship ending. This is a developing area of law and, as yet, there is no modern decision on the validity of such agreements however, with reform on the horizon, more and more people are seeking to enter into such agreements.
To minimise challenge against enforceability of such an agreement, we advise that both you and your partner obtain independent legal advice, provide full and frank financial disclosure, and ensure that the terms of the agreement are fair. It is best to enter into a Living Together Agreement after you have moved in together.
The kind of issues that you may wish to cover in your Living Together Agreement are: clarification of the ownership of the family home, a provision about how the mortgage payments, bills and home improvements are to be shared between you, how you will divide the family assets in the event of the relationship ending etc.
Although the Living Together Agreement can, and should, include a provision regarding the ownership of the family home, it is best to also have a Trust Deed clarifying ownership. In some circumstances, you may not need both documents; a Trust Deed may suffice, especially if all you wish to do is clarify ownership of the property.
As an unmarried couple, you should also have a Will and Life Assurance to cover each of you against the financial consequences of the death of the other.