by Sarah Ashcroft

Couples who are unmarried yet live together can often have greater legal rights to each other’s income and capital if they split up than married couples.

This is a claim made by the Law Society, which explained that cohabitation agreements can help unmarried couples prepare for all eventualities.

“Unlike prenuptial agreements for married couples, cohabitation agreements are recognised by the courts in England and Wales as being legally binding,” explained John Wotton, president of the Law Society.

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, he emphasised that cohabitation agreements are now more important than ever since the government decided not to give live-in couples the same rights as those who are married.

This will affect all sorts of situations, such as when a spouse dies and their partner automatically gains ownership of an estate, even if a will is not in place.

Cohabitation agreements are commonly drawn up when high-value estates are at stake.

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Published on: October 3, 2011