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Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practicing lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.
From what you say you and your partner have no intention to marry at least as things stand. Is that correct please?
Do I also understand correctly that the children you mention are all from prior relationships and you do not have any children jointly?
We do not intend to marry and have no joint children.
On that basis then neither of you will have a claim against the others assets in your respective sole names in the event that your relationship were to break down.
Providing you maintain for example bank accounts or investments in your sole name, then those assets remain yours absolutely and your partner would have no claim on them.
would it be different if we were married?
Any assets you place into joint names, for example a joint bank account for expenses or in deed the house will have a starting presumption of 50/50 ownership though it is possible to depart from this presumption if one party brings evidence to show a contrary intention though this is not overly easy. In the case of the house you say you intend to own as tenants in common which is essential in these circumstancess and provide for a life interest trust in your wills which is probably sensible in the assumption you wish as things stand at least to ensure that the survivor has a secure home until their death in the event one of you were to pass away during your relationship.
In the event you marry in the future this changes the postion significantly. First your wills will be automatically revoked (cancelled) on marriage so you would have to take care to make a new one. Second marriage creates rights for the other to make potential claims against the others assets. In order to prevent this you would need to enter into a prenuptual agreement before marriage which can prevent the other making claims in the event of divorce
The only other thing to consider is the position if one of you were to pass away whilst you are still in a relationship. If you are cohabiting together effectively as man and wife albeit not actually married then the survivor can make a claim against the first to pass estate if they can show that the first to die has failed to adequately provide for the survivor to maintain a reasonable lifestyle. If you are both independently comfortable financially and contribute to your joint lifestyle relatively equally generally then this type of claim is not so likely and if you are providing life interest trusts in your wills for each for the other this again will go some significant way to fend off such a potential claim so overall such a claim is probably not overly likely.
Have I been able to help you with all your questions on the above?
Yes very helpful thank you. I will give a good feed back.