Gransnet forums


Marrying a long term partner

(62 Posts)
TooTiredToDance Sun 13-May-18 08:11:17

We have been together for about 15 years and have a Son together. We are not married and have never felt a need to marry. We are committed to each other and plan to stay together for the rest of our lives. However, my friend told me something the other day which has really unsettled me. She said that in the event of my Partner dying before me, I am not recognized in law, and cannot register his death, or make decisions on life support. I would not be able to apply for bereavement help towards his funeral or apply for Widows pension. I wondered if any else had an experience on this and what happened to them?

Iam64 Sun 13-May-18 08:16:21

The law currently only recognises a wife/husband for pension purposes. Not only that but if the relationship breaks up, an unmarried wife is usually out on a limb financially.

See a solicitor, take advice and if you don't want to marry, get some kind of legal agreement setting out your wishes. I don't think that currently you can get around the pension issues though.

harrigran Sun 13-May-18 08:18:39

I think this is the reason so many tie the knot after many years, legally you have no rights and do not automatically inherit your partners assets, if he died intestate his family would inherit.

annsixty Sun 13-May-18 08:20:16

Certainly the information about pensions is correct and my friend was told she couldn't register her partner's death but that proved not to be true as she was present at his death, had she not have been then she wouldn't have been allowed.
He had made a will leaving everything to her otherwise I don't know what would have happened.
She was left with virtually no income as she was of pensionable age and only had her own small pension.

Panache Sun 13-May-18 08:31:30

I believe that what you have recently learnt is right fact my H/D whom had lived with her B/F and they had a son together was of the opinion they just did not need that scrap of paper to denote their love for one another .......truly not liking the idea of marriage.
Some real home truths were pointed out to them.......much as has been they opted for a very quick and quiet Wedding in the Registrar`s Office,and quite frankly with now two more children they are aiming to "live happily ever after" but as man and wife.

midgey Sun 13-May-18 09:24:01

I had a friend who had been divorced for many years, her exhusband was killed in a car crash. He had made no Will so the woman he had lived with for most of those years inherited nothing while my friend and their daughter did inherit his estate.

GrandmaMoira Sun 13-May-18 10:16:32

I always think it is best to marry if you are committed and have children and/or buy a house together. If one partner dies it can leave the other in financial difficulties. When I bought a house with my partner before we married, our solicitor advised against it. You don't need a big fancy wedding, just a quick trip to a Register Office with two witnesses.

Davidhs Sun 13-May-18 10:20:45

It is not at all clever to be unmarried for all the reasons mentioned above, you have no rights.
So tie the knot or at least enter into a civil partnership, I am
pretty sure a couple can do that now

loopyloo Sun 13-May-18 10:22:47

So true. I wish they would bring in civil partnerships for hetero sexual couples.

polyester57 Sun 13-May-18 10:37:22

Agree with all the above. There was an elderly lady in my mother´s nursing home who had been divorced and never married her long term partner. As a result, her pension was very small. A wedding doesn´t have to mean a big do, if neither of you want that. A registry office quickie will do. I recently found out that a couple I have known for many years and always assumed were just co-habiting were in fact married. They´d done it very quietly years ago and didn´t tell anyone.

Eglantine21 Sun 13-May-18 12:07:19

If you don’t want to marry, tie it all up legally with Power of Attourney, wills, a declaration of trust, whatever the solicitor recommends.

You can’t do much about pension and stuff though. The system works as it will.

petra Sun 13-May-18 12:21:18

We have lived together for 39 years. All our property and assets have been drawn up by our solicitor so that in the event of one going before the other each is legally covered.

Nanabilly Sun 13-May-18 13:56:35

I know one lady who lived with her man for years and years and he would not get married no matter how many times she asked him ,then he got terminal cancer and asked her to marry him so she did ..He died a couple of weeks later . Then she discovered his own company was massively in debt and she had never known anything about it idea at all . She had to repay all of his debts and it took her years but if they had not married she would have been able to walk away and his adult family would have had to repay it . She said "if he were still alive I'd kill him" she also said she hated him but I think she was just angry and felt used.
She was never the same person after that and had massive trouble trusting any man again.
So if you are thinking of getting married to him after all these years make some checks on certain things first , his finances for one .

BlueBelle Sun 13-May-18 14:12:28

A cautionary tale my friends live in partner of 25 years had never divorced, he got Alzheimer’s she wore herself to the ground looking after him then she got cancer she needed to go to hospital for an operation and put her partner into a good care home for respite while she recover Unbeknown to her the wife found out where he was, removed him to a home of her choice gave the new home strict instructions that my friend could not be told where he was He subsequently had a fall and died some months later my friend had never seen him again and was not told until after he was dead and buried
She was totally and utterly distraught

Maggiemaybe Sun 13-May-18 18:12:54

It’s very important that you get this sorted straightaway, OP. There was a long thread on Mumsnet recently with some very sad stories of women who had lost everything when their partners died. To be honest I was shocked that so many women thought they would be treated as married because they were in “common law” relationships. Legally, there’s no such thing. No need for a big fuss. You can get married in a register office in your lunch break for next to nothing, and your position will be much more secure.

Bearing in mind Nanabilly’s cautionary tale, of course. shock

granto3 Sun 13-May-18 19:15:46

I met my partner and we lived together for 18 months with no intention of either us getting married again. Then one day he "popped the question" the reason being that he wanted to make sure I would be "looked after financially" if he died before me. Sadly, this happened 8 months ago and I have been eternally grateful that we did tie the knot. I am not well off by any means, but it does mean that I got a widows pension and bereavement allowance (although it only last for 12 months, together with an upfront payment of £2,000) and all the entitlements due to being a married couple.
After all, marriage just a legal piece of paper, but without it, I would be in a less privileged position than I am now. It also saves a whole lot of heartache when having to deal with pension companies, banks, insurance companies etc. I know how difficult I found it all and we were married!
Good luck on whatever you decide to do

Iam64 Sun 13-May-18 20:36:45

The news reported recently that His Honour Judge Mumby, the head of the Family Divison, wants live in partners to have the same security as those who are married. I can't imagine this happening very quickly. Heterosexual couples can't yet have a civil partnership.
Gay friends were relieved when civil partnerships became possible. Prior to that they had significant difficulties with pensions and health issues. One close friend was in ICU and his partner of 25 years was not allowed to be with him or to be given information about the prognosis. They were at the front of the queue when civil partnerships became possible. We need to move into the 21st century don't we.

annsixty Sun 13-May-18 21:06:04

Live in partners want to have their cake and to eat it.
How simple to live together with the benefits and just walk away when it suits . Divorce takes time, effort and a great deal of money.
To just leave with all the benefits is cloud cuckoo land.

notanan2 Sun 13-May-18 21:42:34

its a massive issue in the UK that so many people think there are common law partner rights.

There arent.

But not enough people realise this until its too late.

If you are commited and you want to be each others next of kin and want each other looked after when you die etc, marry! it doesnt not need to involve a wedding if thats not your cup of tea, but marry!

grannyticktock Sun 13-May-18 22:00:04

Some of the things you mention can be dealt with, one by one: make wills, take out Lasting Powers of Attorney, take out life insurance naming each other as beneficiaries, make sure any property you own is in joint names,etc. Getting married covers some but not all of these.
Feeling "no need" to get married is rather short-sighted, as one of the purposes of marriage is to put these practical measures in place and give more security to couples. If you're going to tackle each of the items separately, you might as well marry.
Widow's pensions and benefits are usually only for people under retirement age, but they're payable their a spouse, not to anyone else. Occupational pensions sometimes provide for the spouse of deceased pensioner (e.g. half of the pension, for the life of the surviving spouse) but if you're not a spouse, you don't qualify. Some element of a deceased's State pension may be passed to a spouse in certain cases, but if you're not a spouse, you don't get it.
Most people who are committed to each other for life demonstrate this by getting married. That's what marriage is there for. It's your choice.

stella1949 Mon 14-May-18 01:16:32

Yes, that is why we got married after years together. A friend who worked for the government, explained how difficult it could be if one of us died and we'd never married. We had a quickie wedding with just us and the AC there. I feel secure now - everything is sorted , just because of that " piece of paper ".

Iam64 Mon 14-May-18 09:20:18

annsixty, I know many people who aren't married but aren't in the wanting their cake and eat it gang. The younger couples are almost always saving up for the big celebration their generation sees as an essential part of getting married. Meanwhile, they're living together, buying their first homes and often having a child or two.
My older friends didn't see the need for the "piece of paper from the city hall" to keep them tight and true. Many of them are marrying later in life as the reality of what can happen if one dies hits home.

annsixty Mon 14-May-18 09:51:05

Apologies Iam an illconsidered and unfair comment of mine.
It came from a personal experience and I know is not typical and I shouldn't let one incident colour my judgement.

Blinko Mon 14-May-18 10:04:02

Annsixty, an example of a gracious and sincere apology. Not everyone can do that so well.

To the OP, for Heavens sake! Its hard to realise that there are still some people out there who do not know that if you are not legally married, you have NO RIGHTS.

My advice would be either see a solicitor and get things down in writing asap, or just book a slot at the Registrars Office and get married. Just do something soon.

GabriellaG Mon 14-May-18 10:39:38

Even if the OP gets some sort of legal agreement, the 'rights' of blood relatives trump everything else.