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Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis has spoken out about the financial complications of living with a partner but not being legally binded.
While marriage seems like the natural progression after having been with someone and lived together for a number of years, the concept has been viewed by some as outdated and unnecessary.
However, Martin Lewis has since urged couples who haven’t yet tied the knot but live together to reconsider for the sake of making legal issues easier to deal with further down the line.
It’s never nice to think about your significant other passing away, but after years of living through a global pandemic, the question of mortality is one which has been pushed to the forefront of many people’s minds.
In his latest Money Saving Expert newsletter, Lewis has drawn attention to the complications which can arise if partners who live together aren’t married.
Money is tricky enough to sort out as it is – who knows where to even start with taxes – so perhaps if you are part of a couple, you should listen in.
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While the idea of marriage may seem a bit old fashioned, Lewis explained it can be handy to at least enter a civil partnership or write a clear will or contract so your partner can have easier – and lawful – access to all your assets should you pass away.
Inheritance law not only comes with a whopping great big tax on anything the deceased does own, but also means a partner has no status unless they are in a civil partnership or married to their significant other.
This means if your partner did pass away, you may end up with nothing. For example, even if you’d both shared a flat for years, it’s not rightfully yours and you have no status to claim it unless legally tied to them.
Its time for the unpleasant issues chat, protecting yourself from the 3Ds: death, divorce, dementia.
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The conversation isn’t exactly the easiest one to have and after a long day at work, and you probably want nothing more than to sit in front of the television, crack open a bottle of wine and catch up with the latest episode of Gogglebox.
However, Lewis has stressed just how necessary it is to deal with such ‘unpleasant issues’ and to be as ‘blunt’ and ‘candid’ as possible.
If you get the chat out of the way and come to some sort of solution – whether it be a will, marriage or civil partnership – it means your significant other, or child or whoever you want to leave your belongings, money or property to, will have legal access to your ‘estate’.
On the slightly less morbid – but still depressing – note, Lewis also advises partners to draw up a ‘cohabitation agreement’ which can make financial matters easier if you and your partner go your separate ways while still both alive.
The Money Saving Expert stated: “If you live with your partner, but are neither married nor in a civil partnership, you may want to consider drawing up a ‘cohabitation agreement’ in addition to writing a will.
“While a will determines what happens to your assets and belongings once you die, a cohabitation agreement spells out what happens if your relationship breaks down – so a bit like a will for the living.”
Such an agreement can also protect from financial abuse and is ‘strongest if both partners have had independent legal advice and haven’t signed under duress’.
Appointing a Power of Attorney is also important in case you end up being diagnosed with an illness such as dementia or you suffer from a stroke and subsequently don’t have the mental capacity to make decisions by yourself.
So you may as well take the bull by the horns, get the conversation out of the way and get back to your episode of Eastenders or Love Island in no time.
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence, contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677
Topics: Martin Lewis, News, Sex and Relationships