Jacqueline M. Hudkins
Buying Property as an Unmarried Couple: Precautions to take Before Purchasing a Home Together
You and your significant other are excited to take the next step, and maybe save some money, by buying a home together. However you’re either not ready, aren’t in a position to, or simply don’t want to get married.
For married couples there are existing contracts for how to divide property and assets, but for non-married couples, things can be much messier. Our experience at Hudkins Law is that unmarried couples go into property purchases happy and excited, but if things go south, conversations become tense and the situation can become difficult to handle.
To help you and your partner save on anxiety and stress in the future, we have some tips for you before you purchase a property together.
Joint Property Ownership Agreement
A safe precaution for you and your significant other to take is to sign a joint property ownership agreement. This is a contract between you and your romantic partner that outlines:
How expenses will be handled while you’re together
What would happen to your assets if the two of you were to break up
What would happen to your assets if one of you were to pass away
Alongside your joint property ownership agreement, we also recommend that you set up a revocable trust. This is a trust that you could alter as your relationship changes, but that would ensure that you or your partner would avoid probate, should anything tragic happen to either of you. This would also allow your partner, family, or other beneficiaries to receive the assets you leave for them without the hassle of going to court and starting a probate process.
Setting up these two simple precautions should protect you and your partner’s assets and ensure a smoother process in times of crisis.
If you and your significant other are contemplating marriage in the future, then we recommend one additional level of precaution: a prenuptial agreement.
Historically, prenuptial agreements were only used for high net worth clients. Now though, it is entirely common for people to get married later in life, with some assets already in place. We recommend couples consider signing prenuptial agreements to simply address where assets would go if your relationship were to deteriorate.
If you are looking to purchase property with someone else, regardless of your relationship, contact us at Hudkins Law. We can offer you a complimentary consultation, and help advise you with the decisions that make the most sense for you.
It’s easy to get starry eyed over the romance of home-ownership, but buying a home, at the bottom line, is a business transaction. Hudkins Law is here to help protect you and provide some peace of mind!