Can marriage protect your partner?

Money Advice Service

Whatever your view on marriage or civil partnerships, many question whether it can bring about any financial advantages that will protect their partner when one of you dies. Can marriage protect your partner?

Although there are some substantial benefits if you do tie the knot, in many cases it doesn’t actually make a difference whether you do or don’t.

Being married or having a civil partnership means…

You can give your spouse or civil partner anything you own without getting charged inheritance tax. If you don’t have a will, your partner will automatically inherit all or most of your estate. This includes any mortgage-free property.

If you’re not married, you need to make sure you name the person in a will. If your husband, wife or civil partner dies, you may be able to use their NI contribution record to help you get a better state pension.

And if you haven’t made things legal...

If you have a joint current or savings account, it will transfer over to the surviving partner—married or not—but may be subject to tax. 

Any couple can split their assets between them to take advantage of different rates of income tax. So if one partner pays tax at the 40% rate and the other 20%, it might be better for savings to be in the second partner’s name.

With personal pensions, rules on marriage vary from pension to pension, so it’s good to check your policy. It’s best to make sure you’re prepared for all eventualities.

 Read more articles by the Money Advice Service here