Cohabitation Agreement vs Will: Understanding the Difference
Cohabitation, or living together without being married, is becoming more and more common these days. While it’s a great way to test the waters before getting married, it’s important to understand the legal implications of cohabitation, particularly in the event of a breakup or death.
One of the key things you need to consider is how your assets will be divided in the event of a breakup or death. This is where a cohabitation agreement and a will come into play.
What is a Cohabitation Agreement?
A cohabitation agreement is a legal document that outlines the terms and conditions of your living arrangement with your partner. It covers everything from how you will share expenses and household responsibilities to how your assets will be divided in the event of a breakup.
The cohabitation agreement can be customized to include a wide range of provisions, including who will be responsible for paying rent and utilities, how joint bank accounts will be managed, and what will happen to shared property.
The main purpose of a cohabitation agreement is to protect your rights and interests in case of a breakup. By outlining the terms of your relationship upfront, you can avoid misunderstandings and legal battles down the road.
What is a Will?
A will, on the other hand, is a legal document that outlines your wishes regarding the distribution of your assets after your death. It can cover everything from your bank accounts and investments to your personal property and real estate.
If you die without a will, your assets will be distributed according to the laws of the state where you live. This means that your partner may not be entitled to any of your assets if you are not married.
A will allows you to ensure that your partner is taken care of after your death. You can name them as a beneficiary or assign them specific assets.
Additionally, a will can include provisions for your children, such as naming a guardian for them in case both you and your partner pass away.
Key Differences Between a Cohabitation Agreement and a Will
While both a cohabitation agreement and a will are legal documents that can protect your rights and interests, there are some key differences between them.
A cohabitation agreement deals with the terms of your living arrangement with your partner while a will deals with the distribution of your assets after your death. A cohabitation agreement is valid only during your relationship while a will takes effect after your death.
A cohabitation agreement is focused on protecting your rights and interests in case of a breakup while a will is focused on ensuring that your wishes are followed after your death.
While living together without getting married can be a great way to test the waters, it’s important to understand the legal implications of cohabitation. A cohabitation agreement and a will are two important legal documents that can protect your interests and ensure that your wishes are followed in the event of a breakup or death.
It’s important to work with an experienced attorney to draft these documents to make sure that they are legally binding and enforceable. By doing so, you can enjoy the benefits of cohabitation while protecting your legal rights and interests.