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This time: Is it better to get married when a child is on the way?
Anyone who is unmarried and expecting a child has heard it: 'Isn't this a good time to finally get married?
It makes everything so much easier when you have a child. '
Do these people mainly want to be invited to a nice wedding, or do they also have a point?
"Actually, yes. Especially if one in the couple dies, it makes a difference", says Mariëtte van Kreij, civil-law notary and expert in family law.
"Partners who marry automatically become each other's heirs and from that moment on they have to file tax returns together. If you don't want to get married, you have to imitate a lot of things with a will in combination with a cohabitation contract."
Child and assets automatically to the in-laws
Mimicking that is useful, unless you want to run the risk of getting into unpleasant situations if you split up or your partner dies.
But what is the worst that could happen if you as a couple have not arranged any papers at all?
"In the event of death, half of the house goes to the child, which in fact means that the parents-in-law can decide about it."
Fleur Kroonbergs, financial planner
"Suppose you are a man and you have a child with your girlfriend. If she dies and you have not arranged custody for your child, your child will go to your in-laws. And you really don't want that - I think. no will has been made, so the woman's assets also go to the child ", says financial planner Fleur Kroonbergs.
"Imagine that you bought an apartment with your girlfriend. When she dies, half of the house goes to the child, which basically means that half of the parents-in-law are allowed to decide what happens to the apartment - that might not be what you want either. "
Marriage as the simplest answer
The above situations disappear in one fell swoop when you are married.
You can go a long way with just a cohabitation contract without a will, says notary Van Kreij.
"In a cohabitation contract you often have a residency clause that states that the survivor will receive everything that you have bought together, should one die. Then you're done."
"But on the day the survivor dies, the family of the first deceased gets nothing - everything goes to the other family. That can certainly come as a surprise."
The legal pros aside - getting married isn't for everyone.
Then registered partnership may be an option.
The legal and tax consequences are the same for marriage and a registered partnership (it is especially when a couple breaks up that the procedures differ).
And just like with getting married, you can arrange a registered partnership completely free of charge at the municipality.
Cohabitation contract and will as the last option
If you do not want to get married and do not want a registered partnership, then the option of a cohabitation contract and will remains, should you want to avoid family-law surprises in the future.
You can set up a will from 245 euros.
However, many families have a more complex structure than just two parents and a child, and the costs quickly add up.
Arranging a will together with a cohabitation contract with a civil-law notary costs in many cases around 1,000 euros.
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