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If you are a couple living together but not married or in a civil partnership, 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 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, both you and your partner should 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 include clarification of the ownership of the family home; 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, particularly if you own the property in unequal shares. 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 family home.
You should also consider having a Will and life assurance to cover each of you against the financial consequences of the death of the other.