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Ten reasons why you should propose this valentine's day

Lorraine Harvey gives you 10 excellent reasons why you should pop the question this Valentine’s Day.Some couples who have been married for a long time might say some of the most important reasons you should get married is so you’ll always have someone to put out the bins/provide a free taxi service/accuse when you can’t find your car keys, but there are sound legal reasons for getting married.  Many couples who live together say to me ‘why should we get married? We don’t need a piece of paper to validate our relationship’. They forget that marriage is, from a legal perspective anyway, a binding contract and as such, there are many financial and legal reasons why marriage is a much better idea than living together.1. A married couple can have a legal duty to support each other in the event of a relationship breakdown. Unmarried couples have no such protection.  2. Many people who live together and have children don’t realise that an unmarried father is not, by law, automatically assumed to be the children’s father. However if you’re married, you automatically get parent’s responsibility. This will make a huge difference if you split up and your ex-wife decides she wants to move to Australia and take the children with her.3. You can transfer assets to your spouse without being liable for Capital Gains Tax (CGT). Transfers between spouses are not taxed, and you both get an annual CGT allowance. This means you can transfer enough of your assets to your husband or wife for him or her to sell to use up their own allowance. This effectively doubles the CGT allowance for married couples.

4. If you’re involved in a family business, the profits can be shared between the parties to use up the lower tax bands.

5. If you own shares in a company, you can gift some shares to the partner with a lower income. Then when the dividends are paid, you can take advantage of the lower tax rates.

6. Don’t forget that if you’re married, you can take advantage of the Married Couple’s Allowance.

7. Two thirds of people in the UK die without ever getting around to making a will. If you're not married to your partner (or have not formed a civil partnership) and you die before you make a will, your partner won't automatically inherit anything from you. Instead, the law dictates that everything will go to your nearest blood relative – regardless of your wishes.  And if you are married, your other half (usually) won't have any Inheritance Tax to pay because a husband, wife or civil partner counts as an 'exempt beneficiary'.

8. Married couples can inherit part of their spouse’s state pension. Also, many company pensions will pay pensions to the spouse of deceased members.

9. If the worst should happen and you both die, you can both have prepared for this by appointing a guardian to take care of your children. Remember if you only live together, your other half is not, legally, your next of kin. This has also has ramifications when, for example, you go into hospital.

10. It’s romantic! (But get a pre-nup before the wedding.)