Married couples should have passwords for each other

Protection: No ring - a lot of risk: These pitfalls threaten unmarried couples

Of course, you can find marriages totally bourgeois. But couples in a wild marriage often do not realize that living unbound is riskier than living with a marriage certificate - and usually more expensive. Only conventional marriages are expressly protected by the legislature. If a couple wants to stay together for a long time without a vow, they should know the risks of the life model.

1. Tax disadvantage

"We're not getting married because of the tax office" - this argument is justified. However, a couple must first be able to afford a loose-fitting relationship. Unmarried people are often much worse off from a tax point of view than married couples and registered partners. You do not have the option of choosing cheaper tax brackets and filing a joint tax return. You have to settle with the tax office as if you were single. If both always earn the same amount, the disadvantage is limited. It always becomes expensive when a partner earns significantly less or is not employed at all.

2. Like strangers in the event of death

After the partner's death, survivors are not covered by a widow's or widower's pension. This pension is only available to married couples. That can be difficult, for example for women who have lived together with their partner for decades and put back in their careers because of the children. Anyone who then has to move out because the man is alone in the lease or land register has a problem. If the couple decides to marry so that the bereaved will be provided for, the time of marriage is important. If the marriage is entered into shortly before the death of a partner, this is not sufficient for a pension to be drawn. You must have gone to the registry office at least one year before the death.

3. Like strangers in inheritance

In wild marriages, the fact that there is no legal succession is often ignored. If the partner dies, the survivor cannot register any inheritance claims. Only the children inherit, the partner goes completely empty according to the law. If there is no offspring, the parents inherit if they are still alive. Then other relatives. Even a cousin can become a co-owner of the common house. Disadvantages can only be avoided with a will. In a wild marriage, no common last will is possible. A separate will is possible, but not optimal. It can be revoked unilaterally. A joint disposition as part of an inheritance contract is the better choice, said Dominik Hüren, spokesman for the Federal Chamber of Notaries in Berlin. The fact that the tax office treats unmarried people like strangers cannot change this provision either. While they are only entitled to an exemption of 20,000 euros, married couples can inherit up to 500,000 euros tax-free or receive them as a gift.

4. On sole post in the event of separation

Statutory entitlements to maintenance, profit or a pension adjustment exist only for married couples who are falling apart. Unmarried people quickly end up empty-handed when they split up. Everyone has to pay for their own pension. Only those who look after their children are entitled to child support. Neither personal work nor the money that went into the mutual relationship can be reimbursed or reclaimed. Invested is invested, a gift is a gift. It is therefore important to consider: the more the partners buy and pay separately, the easier it is to divide up the assets in the event of separation. If the couple decides to make joint purchases such as furniture or a car, it is advisable to record these purchases in private agreements. If both are tenants, they should stipulate who is allowed to stay in the event of a separation and what happens to the deposit.

5. Protection when buying real estate

If an unmarried couple wants to buy an apartment or a house, they must be particularly careful. Both partners should register in the land register according to their financial interests. If both parties become joint owners in equal parts, both must also be responsible for the debts. In extreme cases, the property can be auctioned - then both have to move out. If a partner moves in at a later date and helps to pay off the loan, a co-ownership share can be transferred to him to secure him or a right of joint use can be entered in the land register. Otherwise there is no right to stay there if the owner has to go to a nursing home, for example, as the Federal Court of Justice decided (Az. XII ZR 110/06).

6. Yes to powers of attorney, no to guarantees

Unmarried couples should keep their hands off joint loan agreements or mutual guarantees. Otherwise, they'll have to take responsibility when the relationship has long since failed. Regulations for emergencies of all kinds are important: unmarried partners are only able to act in an emergency if they have mutual powers of attorney. They are indispensable for authorities, insurance companies, banks, nursing homes or hospitals. Unmarried persons cannot ask the doctor for information about the condition of the other. Only those who can show a health care proxy from the patient are on the safe side. If this does not exist, the court appoints a supervisor.

7. Contracts help

Unmarried people should understand the pitfalls of making provisions for emergencies and, if possible, protecting each other through a partnership agreement. This can be used to specify who brings how much money into the partnership, who pays back joint loans, how household effects and assets are distributed in the event of separation or death, what matters are maintenance or custody of children. A pure inheritance contract can also make sense. In theory, a couple can set up their own agreements. For larger assets, advice from a lawyer or notary is essential.

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