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In the UK there are roughly 12 million married couples and a little over 3 million cohabiting couples, so an extreme assumption would be that the bill for future cohabiting partners could add up to a quarter to the current 300 billion cost.
It is essential that cohabiting couples make a will if they wish to provide for each other, and nominations of death in service and pension benefits should also be considered along with appropriate inheritance tax planning.
In 2007, the number of cohabiting adults ages 50 and older grew by 75 percent.
For example, the family of a cohabiting couple could face an extra PS70,000 inheritance tax bill compared with the heirs of a married couple.
They will be covered by the old system - under which certain rights to an improved state pension after the death of a spouse do not apply to cohabiting couples.
Among cohabiting and dating couples, love was also very strong, with 82 percent to 91 percent of partners answering in the affirmative.
Examining data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, McClintock also found that, when married or cohabiting women work in traditionally female jobs, they increase the amount of time they spend on housework, compared to when they are employed in heavily-male occupations, while their husbands or partners decrease the amount of time they spend on this type of activity.
Keywords: cohabiting couples with children, family structure, fragile families and child well-being, parental investment/involvement, parenting and parenthood
The findings, published in the Journal of Marriage and Family, showed married and cohabiting couples reduced contact with parents and friends - this appeared to be a lasting effect.
Some people do not realise that there are few automatic protections for cohabiting couples.
For past generations, cohabiting prior to marriage was frowned upon by some, but 92% of recently wed adults asked said they had done so, with one third of those cohabiting for one to two years.