This is more of a legal question than a romantic one. Whether or not to get married can have legal implications to consider.
Intestacy Rules: The law of intestacy covers what happens to an estate when someone dies without making a Will, and it is applied differently to married couples or those in a Civil Partnership than to cohabiting couples. The essential point to note is that the law of intestacy does not give any rights to cohabiting couples. It is crucial that unmarried couples make a Will to ensure that they leave their estate to their partner and ensure their financial security, or to appoint them as the legal guardian of any children.
Inheritance Tax: If you are married, there are significant tax savings to be made. Inheritance Tax is paid at 40% on assets in excess of £325,000. If you are married you can utilize the spouse exemption and the Nil Rate Band which means everything can pass to the spouse free of tax on the first death.
If you are not married then tax will be payable at 40% on all assets over £325,000. This could leave the survivor in financial difficulty and is a situation that could be avoided by being married.
Property Ownership: Cohabiting couples should check the way in which they co-own property to ensure that their share of the property passes to the survivor. If the property is purchased as tenants in common, the portion of the property owned by the deceased will not automatically pass to the survivor. To ensure that your partner does not have to sell the property, you should make a Will to protect them.
As unromantic as it might be, there are legal advantages to being married. To ensure that your loved ones are protected, come and speak to one of our specialists.
For further information please contact a member of the Wills and Probate team.