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27 Living Together and Your Rights if You Separate

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1 Introduction

2. How is living together different from being married?

3. Setting up home

4. Making a ´living-together agreement´

5. When you are living together

6. If you or your partner dies

7. State benefits for people living together

8. Tax matters

9. Pensions

Pension schemes vary widely in their terms and in the benefits they provide. So it is not possible to give detailed advice in this leaflet. The following points are some of the things you should consider when looking at your pension scheme or choosing one.

If you die during your working life, most schemes will pay a ‘death-in-service’ lump-sum payment and a regular income to your dependants. If you reach retirement age, you can generally expect a lump sum on retirement and an income for yourself for the rest of your life. Most schemes will pay an income to your dependants if you die after retirement.

You can generally nominate the people you want to get your death-in-service benefit, but the trustees of the pension scheme don’t have to agree to your nomination. They could refuse to pay it to the people you choose. This rarely happens, but you should check with your scheme administrator whether the trustees will pay to your partner.

Generally you will have no say in who gets any income after your death. Only some schemes will pay your partner if you are unmarried or have not registered as civil partners, though this is gradually changing. If you are planning to join a pension scheme, check this carefully first.

Also, you will not be able to claim from your partner’s pension if you split up before they die.

10. If you split up

11. Arrangements if you have children

12. Sorting out the home

13. Sorting out other items you own

14. Dealing with emergencies

15. Terms used in matters to do with living together

16. Further help

17. About this leaflet

The leaflets in this series give you an outline of your legal rights. They are not a complete guide to the law and are not intended to be a guide to how the law will apply to you or to any specific situation. The leaflets are regularly updated but the law may have changed since this was printed, so information in it may be incorrect or out of date.

If you have a problem, you will need to get more information or personal advice to work out the best way to solve it. See 'Further help' for sources of information and advice.

This leaflet is published by the Gurkha Free Legal Advice (LSC). It was written in association with Imogen Clout, a solicitor and mediator specialising in family law.

Leaflet version: January 2009

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