Safeguarding Your Wealth

Of this age group, 3 out of 5 cohabitees have divorced. There are likely to be a number of reasons for this increase in trend in divorce and cohabitation amidst the over 65s, including improvement in health for those aged 65 and over and the desire to enjoy retirement more as well as the loss of social stigma associated with divorce and cohabitation.

Often those over 65 have retired and have accumulated the vast majority of their wealth during their working lives. Fear of losing this wealth and the potential impact upon what can be left to children by way of inheritance may well be a deterrent to re-marriage for the over 65.

The law relating to cohabitees continues to be difficult to find a way through. Despite a recommendation by the Law Commission about changes in legislation for cohabitees the law remains unchanged. Litigation through the Court can be protracted and costly in terms of legal fees and the outcome often difficult to predict for lawyers.

The Government asked the Law Commission last year to consider what should happen to property owned by one partner before entering into a marriage or civil partnership. The most common situations which arise are monies or property received by way of gift or inheritance prior to marriage or a property acquired before marriage. The Law Commission final report is anticipated later this year.

So how do you currently safeguard your wealth if you have acquired property before entering into a relationship, have few or no working years left to acquire more wealth and want to make certain that you have something left to leave your children if you decide to remarry or cohabit?

Cohabitation agreements can be entered into to define with certainty what you each have when you enter into a relationship and what you intend the other person to acquire, if anything. Trusts can be set up, property can be purchased in unequal shares reflecting capital contributions made and wills and pre-nuptial agreements entered into. Post-nuptial agreements entered into after marriage to regulate a couple's financial affairs are also increasingly common. All give clarity to the position legally in the event of separation, divorce or death.

Emsleys Family, Private Client and Property departments can give you expert legal advice about protecting your wealth. Our teams work closely together to give you comprehensive legal advice about protecting your wealth in a way which gives the most clarity legally should something unforeseen happen. For more information call us on 0113 201 4900 or email

Gabbie  Clasper

Written by

Gabbie Clasper

Head of Family Law

Gabbie has over 20 years’ experience in family law. She has expert knowledge in complex issues including financial aspects following divorce; pre and post-nuptial agreements; cases with an international element; and civil partnerships. Gabbie is regularly instructed by clients based across the country and abroad. She...

Back to Blog