Asset Protection – protecting your rights and providing clarity

Brought to you by our friends at ASB Law

The breakdown of a relationship can be a particularly distressing and difficult time for both parties and often requires significant discussion regarding the division of assets and asset protection. The increasing use of pre and post-nuptial agreements means that couples can now stipulate how assets are to be divided in the event of a relationship breakdown and lessen the confusion and potential acrimony often associated with asset division. Although pre and post-nuptial agreements apply to the formal breakdown of a marriage or civil partnership, couples who live together but haven’t formalised their relationship can also benefit from preparing a document which sets out asset protection and what would happen in the event of a relationship breakdown.

There is a common misconception that couples that live together are afforded some legal protection, particularly if they have lived together for some time. However, the law does not recognise ‘common law spouses’, so couples who live together but aren’t married and don’t have a civil partnership are particularly vulnerable in the event of a relationship breakdown. A co-habitation agreement enables couples who live together to set out certain conditions that would apply in the event of them parting. This ensures each party has recognised rights regardless of the fact that their relationship isn’t legally recognised. Without a co-habitation agreement and no asset protection, one party could potentially be left with nothing or very little despite the fact they were in a stable relationship and living together for a number of years.

In addition to using a co-habitation agreement to determine the ownership of assets in the event of separation, co-habiting couples also need to consider what would happen if one party dies. Under the law, a co-habitant has no automatic right to a share of the deceased’s estate in the same way a spouse or civil partner would.

According to the Office of National Statistics, the number of couple cohabiting has doubled over the last twenty five years. This means that many cohabitants were at risk of assuming rights they did not legally have and were often shocked to find their relationship was not legally recognised. A co-habitation agreement enables couple to have their rights and relationships formally recognised and enforced in a similar way to the rights of spouses and civil partners.

Whilst no-one likes to consider the possibility of a relationship breakdown, divorce is unfortunately a common occurrence and the rate of civil partnership dissolutions has risen by 28.7% since 2010 according to the Office of National Statistics. Asset protection agreements such a pre-nuptial agreements, post-nuptial agreements and co-habitation agreements enable parties to protect their assets, enforce their rights, ensure that their children and ex-partners are provided for and provide clarity in a demanding and challenging time.

ASB Law have many years’ experience working with asset protection, helping people in vulnerable situations, and their carers, and acting as deputies and attorneys. ASB Law understand your asset protection concerns, and know what is important to you.  Whatever your personal circumstances or if you are seeking advice on behalf of a loved one, their expertise is there for your benefit.

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December 14, 2012 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
Posted in: Uncategorized