The next question that Howells solicitors will be answering in our FAQ series, regards the rights to your property when having a partner move in with you.
Q: Several years ago my husband died and left me with the family home which is now mortgage-free. In the last year I have met someone else and we are talking about living together.
I’ve been warned that I should get something legally written up to protect me from losing my house if things don’t work out between us. Is my partner entitled to half my house, what do I need to do in this situation?
A: How you should proceed here depends on the relationship progression. If you do not get married and keep the house in your name then you won’t need to do anything as he will have no legal rights to your home. However, if you transfer the property into joint names or if you take out a joints mortgage to make improvements then things can become more complicated.
If you are changing these circumstances then you need to inform your solicitor about how you want the equity to be shared out. By explicitly stating that the property shall remain yours and signing a declaration of trust deed, you could prevent a very expensive argument if things don’t work out.
By living together, your partner may spend a significant amount of money on improvements and maintenance. This could result in him wanting a legal interest in the property as he has invested heavily – you should discuss this and consider taking legal advice before any major projects are undertaken. You could use a declaration of trust deed again here to ensure than the situation and your intentions are clear.
Marriage changes everything here and if you are considering getting married, then signing a pre-nuptial will ensure that you do not lose the house in the case of a divorce. However, matrimonial courts can override them but they can influence the outcomes of a divorce settlement.
Get expert legal advice from Howells
Every case is different, so it is important that you seek professional legal advice as quickly as possible. At Howells, we have a wealth of experience in dealing with asset management, divorce and declaration of trust. Talk to us today to find out how we can help you by calling us on 0808 178 2773 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read more about declaration of trust.
by Tristan Lewis