Do we HAVE to get married?

(119 Posts)
NaturalBlondeYeahRight Wed 24-Apr-13 20:33:44

We have been together ( more or less happily grin )for 18 years. 2 DC, house in both names and appropriate wills and life insurance.
I don't want a 'ah, go and get married' Fred. But seriously, should we?
If either of us kick the bucket before our time, will
It cause serious problems. OH main breadwinner so presuming he will be ok money wise but am I taking big risks. I have visions of poverty line before will is sorted. We don't even have joint accounts (never got round to it) but please don't think this is an issue, our money is shared equally.

eccentrica Wed 24-Apr-13 20:36:03

Make wills. See a solicitor. Don't get married just for inheritance - and if you do, for god's sake don't have a bloody wedding grin

AuntieStella Wed 24-Apr-13 20:39:03

Does his pension pay out to non-marital partners?

Can you manage without the IHT exemptions that are available only to the married/CPed? Do you mind forgoing state bereavement benefits (also only available to married/CPed)?

Bobyan Wed 24-Apr-13 20:39:45

Las Vegas, complete with Elvis!

Ragwort Wed 24-Apr-13 20:39:57

I am not a legal expert but if you have properly drawn up wills, shared house ownership and life insurance I would assume that is all the 'financial issues' covered.

What about if he is seriously injured/ill - would you be next of kin to make any decisions of what care he needs?

If you separate (and please, don't be one of those who says 'it would never happen' grin) - would you both have equal rights to the children?

I don't believe in getting married for the big white dress, bridezilla attitude, horrendous receptions, guest angst and ridiculous waste of money, but I personally got married (very quietly) for all the boring reasons - married 25 years this year grin.

Ragwort Wed 24-Apr-13 20:41:20

Pension, really good point, can't believe I forgot this as I used to a trustee on a works pension scheme. You both need to check if the pension pays out to 'partners' or just legal spouses.

Pobblewhohasnotoes Wed 24-Apr-13 20:45:50

What about the two of you just nipping to the registry office and not tell anyone?

My mum and step dad did this for financial reasons, to be secure if something happened to the other one (they've also been together for years).

Shallishanti Wed 24-Apr-13 20:46:01

I feel your pain, or rather, I felt it about 20 yrs ago when I realised I would not be entitled to any pension if dp kicked the bucket and we had 3 kids, house etc (mortgage would have been sorted, but you have to eat grin)
if it helps, as Ragwort says, you can get married virtually in secret and carry on exactly as you were- a friend who had to do this for immigration purposes was v reassuring, she found it made no difference to their relationship which was sound on all counts without a certificate.

TheCraicDealer Wed 24-Apr-13 20:46:59

Yeah, I'd do that- it's pretty romantic really, you could both just take a day off, tell no-one and just...do it!

NaturalBlondeYeahRight Wed 24-Apr-13 20:50:20

See, you guys have already brought up issues I haven't considered. I don't know if I am next of kin (how would that be resolved?) he only has one sister and DC left except for distant cousins. Sis and I are close so it's unlikely that would even cause concern, but worth sorting. Both DC born at beginning of 2000's so presume even though DP is on birth certs, he wouldn't have auto parent rights.
Even though insurance def ok, I don't know about pension......DP thinks its all a bit morbid, I'm just practical.
Of course I don't think we couldn't split, that can happen to anyone. I think I would be reliant that he is intrinsically a decent chap on that one.

It doesn't look good on paper, yet I feel content. Why can't it just be done like a will?

badbride Wed 24-Apr-13 20:50:27

There are some tax advantages and disadvantages of being married--all depends on your financial situation.

I'm not an accountant, but AIUl, husbands and wives can transfer certain assets to each other without incurring tax charges (including potential inheritance tax liabilities).

On the other hand, a married couple can only claim to have one principal residence for capital gains tax exemption--I think unmarried partners can claim one each.

Might be worth having a chat with an accountant or the CAB?

Thurlow Wed 24-Apr-13 20:54:09

We're in a similar boat. We've tied up everything we can legally - pensions, mortgage, life insurance, wills passing on savings etc. Marriage just isn't for us and I worry that even a secret registry do just to get it on paper might change something, so I'd rather not do it. I'd go and have a chat with a solicitor if you are worried and see what they say, see how much of an issue it could be.

One of the biggest things is next of kin, especially for medical decisions. I'm ok with this one as I know DP's parents will go along with what I know about DP's wishes, but it is something to consider.

IMO, being unmarried is fine for the good times, but married is best for the bad times.

Seriously ill/incapacitated : DH is my next of kin and I his, able to make decisions for each other. Unmarried, I guess that legally our parents would be our NoKs.

Dead : widow/er rights, inheritance tax, NoK, pensions all much smoother.

Separating : much harder for one to screw the other over in acrimony.

Not to be too macabre but; you might never separate, maybe neither of you will ever be seriously ill, but everybody dies sometime. wink

ChunkyPickle Wed 24-Apr-13 20:58:53

If something awful happened and one of you died, aren't there also tax implications? As in, even though the house is in both names, if you're married it's actually communal so comes automatically to you, but if you're not then the remaining partner is left basically half a house that you now have to pay tax on?

I have to admit I'm thinking DP and I need to do the nip down the registration office thing, just for the peace of mind and hopeful reduction in hassle should something go wrong (I worry about having an accident that leaves me unconscious and them refusing to let him make decisions about me for instance)

jacks365 Wed 24-Apr-13 20:59:48

A friend of mine said she'd never marry. She was in a long term stable relationship and he had an accident and was on life support. She was shocked to discover she had no say it was down to his parents. They married soon after.

CognitiveOverload Wed 24-Apr-13 21:01:16

Go and see a solicitor smile

sittinginthesun Wed 24-Apr-13 21:02:31

Not romantic, but if your OP dies, leaving you assets over £325k, you'll have to pay IHT on anything over that figure. If you're married, you don't.

exoticfruits Wed 24-Apr-13 21:07:02

My solicitor says that she has been responsible for 7 couples getting married recently.
I would just make sure that you get on really well with DP's family if you don't.
Certainly as a widow my position would have been very different without a marriage certificate.

exoticfruits Wed 24-Apr-13 21:08:05

You don't have to have a wedding-you can just go to a registry office with a couple of witnesses.

kim147 Wed 24-Apr-13 21:09:32

I mentioned this at a school I worked at recently. 3 people were long term but not married. They didn't seem to have a clue about houses and wills.

exoticfruits Wed 24-Apr-13 21:09:33

It really is more than 'a piece of paper,' as people find out if the worst happens.

CarpeVinum Wed 24-Apr-13 21:10:07

You don't have to.

Here is a guide to all the areas you can get a solicitor to sort out if any of them are an issue for you.

www.lawontheweb.co.uk/Family_Law/Cohabitation

Or you could nip to the registry office and make a quick legal contract and have the same effect in one fell swoop.

You don't have to have a wedding, or even tell people you got married if you don't fancey it.

I got married for the sake of various legalities after our son was born, not to make some statement about our relationship, which is the same as it was before.

'I'm ok with this one as I know DP's parents will go along with what I know about DP's wishes, but it is something to consider.' I'm sure you have a great relationship with his parents but if something really bad happens NOBODY can say 100% what they will feel. Especially not a parent imo. 3 minutes in a registry office makes sure you can take care of each other and there will be no possibility of family dissent or trouble. It's worth it I think.

Pobblewhohasnotoes Wed 24-Apr-13 21:13:34

Just a thought but if you aren't married at the time your child is born only the mother is allowed to give consent for medical treatment.

Khaleese Wed 24-Apr-13 21:15:49

Get married, it makes it all easy. Your solid as you can be this just cements the cracks.

Not being NOK would be a nightmare.

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