5 documents you might need when taking the next step in your relationship

Key documents you might need when taking the next step in your relationship

With Valentine’s Day soon approaching you might be considering taking the next step with your partner. This could be getting married, moving in together or buying a house. Whatever the situation, we have you covered.

We’ll outline key things and legal documents you should consider when making such decisions.


Which documents will I need when cohabiting with a partner?  

Increasingly, couples are choosing to live together without getting married. An important thing to note when cohabiting with a partner is that it does not create the same rights as marriage. However, you can provide yourselves with security by creating a Cohabitation agreement. A cohabitation agreement can cover issues such as:

  •       financial arrangements
  •       steps for getting parental responsibility of any children you have
  •       reviewing wills and lasting power of attorneys
  •       which assets belong to who and how these should be shared in case you split up

If one of you has moved into your partner’s place you might want to make a Change of address letter to notify people of this. This is especially useful when notifying your bank and employer that you have moved.


Which documents will I need when buying property with a partner?

When buying a property with another person, you should be aware that there are two ways to do this; as joint tenants or tenants in common

If you are joint tenants, when one of you passes away the other will automatically own the whole property. 

If you are tenants in common you will own the property in shares, these shares can be equal or unequal. When a person dies their share of the property forms part of their estate and passes under their will, therefore, whoever they have left their estate to will inherit their share of the property and not the other co-owner.

There are many reasons couples might choose to buy a property as tenants in common, such as one partner putting more money into the deposit, one partner contributing more to the mortgage or one partner wishing to leave their share of the property to someone else.  If this is the case then you should create a Declaration of trust which is used to record each person’s contributions to ensure that when the property is sold, each tenant gets back the proceeds they put in.


Should me and my partner create a prenup?

A Prenuptial agreement might not be the most romantic thing to think about but it is important to consider protecting your assets. Prenups set out how finances will be divided and resolved in case you and your partner get divorced.

At the moment, prenuptial agreements are not legally binding in England and Wales, but courts can take them into consideration as long as certain safeguards are met. Find out how to properly prepare your prenup.


What happens to my will when I get married?

If you have a will, marriage automatically revokes it. Therefore, you should make a new will to set out your wishes. Some of the things you can include in your will are:

  •       specific gifts to people
  •       a guardian for your children
  •       if you want to leave your estate to your partner

If you do not make a will and you are married, the intestacy rules will apply when you pass away. These dictate how your estate will be inherited. Married partners and civil partners will inherit under these intestacy rules.


Make these documents so you and your partner can continue to celebrate the next steps in your relationship knowing you are legally protected.  

Sara Domi