Living Together Agreements

If you move in with your partner but are not married, it is best practice to set up a trust deed to ensure that your joint wishes and intentions concerning ownership of the house you live in are clear.

If you purchase the property as a couple, in joint names, the trust deed can be very useful. Firstly it should set out a brief history of the property, including when it was bought, how the purchase money was provided by both parties and information about the mortgage.

Next, it should describe how you want to own the property. If you want an individual’s share to pass automatically, on their death, to the surviving partner, then the house should be owned as beneficial joint tenants. If you wish to keep strict shares, then the property should be held as tenants in common.

The trust deed can then make clear plans for future insurance, mortgage payments etc and can specify any rules which the owners have to abide by. This could include factors such as agreeing that any future mortgages obtained on the property must be with the consent of both parties. The trust deed could include an option for one party to be given the change to buy out the share of the other if the relationship breaks down.

If the property is purchased in a sole name, the trust deed is similar but much more important to the individual whose name does not, for whatever reason, appear on the title deeds. For example, this could be because that party is still married to someone else. In this case, the trust deed clarifies the position that the property is being held by one partner, in a sole name, but that they accept that the other partner is entitled to a share in it.

The trust deed can include further information such as specifying how the property should be shared or how the proceeds of sale should be divided. It is also vital that a will is made as the assumption of common law spouse is incorrect and if there is no will, the intestacy laws will apply.

If you require any further advice on this matter, or any aspect of family law, please contact us today on 01536 276300 or email