A Cohabitation Agreement is a document which sets out the arrangements for people who live together. This is particularly useful if one person owns the property solely and wants to have it recorded that the intention is that the other will not gain a beneficial interest in the property. The Cohabitation Agreement can also set out who will pay for what.
As explained within our information on our 'Separation' page, couples who are not married or have not formed a Civil Partnership are not protected if the relationship breaks down. A Cohabitation Agreement can set out their own framework and hopefully avoid lengthy and costly Court proceedings. It can also avoid the problem of the Court having to ascertain what the intentions of the parties were at the time they commenced living together as if it is recorded in an agreement it is clear.
It can help to provide certainty to both parties during the relationship so they know where they stand and discussing the terms to be included in the Cohabitation Agreement can help the parties focus on the implications of what they are doing and the potential problems.
The Cohabitation Agreement can include the following:
1. Details of the property concerned
5. Items bought on credit
7. Credit Cards
8. Family loans
9. Other assets
10. The intention of the Parties regarding beneficial interest
Cohabitation Agreements have not yet been fully tested in Court but they are very useful as evidence of a common intention if there is a dispute with regard to ownership of assets on separation.
A Declaration of Trust (also known as a Deed of Trust) is a legally binding document in which the legal owners of the property declare that they hold the property on trust for the benefial owners and sets out the shares in which the beneficial interests are held. Any number of people can enter into a Declaration of Trust and they don't have to be the same parties as the legal owners of the property. If additional parties have contributed to the purchase price then a Declaration of Trust is a way of evidencing their beneficial ownership even if they aren't registered as one of the legal owners of the property.
There are a number of situations where Cohabitation Agreements or Declarations of Trust will be useful, such as:
1. Couples living together who are not married or have not formed a Civil Partnership.
2. Families where an older relative is living with a younger relative and has provided money for a 'granny annex' or for a large property for them to share.
3. Friends and relatives deciding to buy property together, perhaps because they cannot afford to buy alone and so they decide to pool their resources.
At EMD Law we are able to advise you on the appropriate clauses to be included in the Cohabitation Agreement or Declaration of Trust and prepare the document on your behalf. It is important to note that we can only advise one party and the other must obtain their own independent legal advice
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