Cohabitation is becoming increasingly popular. About one in every six couples living together do so without being married or having entered into a civil partnership.
Regardless of how long they have lived together, unmarried or same-sex cohabitees face a very nasty shock indeed if one of them dies without having prepared a Will including provisions for the survivor.
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Cohabiting without a will – the very real risks
Unlike married couples, in the absence of a valid Will any property belonging to the deceased will not pass to the survivor and the intestacy rules apply. These set out what will happen when you die intestate (i.e. without having made a valid Will) and often bears little relation to how you would want your assets to be distributed.
In the absence of a valid Will and under the intestacy rules, your estate will be divided as follows:
- For couples with children, the deceased partner’s estate goes entirely to their children when they reach 18 or earlier if they marry before turning 18.
- For childless couples, the estate goes to the deceased’s parents, siblings and other more distant relatives in a specified order.
If for example, you are living together but your partner owns your home, if they should die intestate before you, you have no automatic right to the property or even to remain living in it. Click here to find out more about joint home ownership
The solution however is simple
A Will setting out how you would like to provide for your surviving partner and who you would like to benefit from any other assets you may own, is the answer.
For many people there is a bonus in having a Will prepared – it gives an opportunity for you to get advice from one of our specialist estate planning lawyers about tax – and inheritance tax in particular.
Are you living together and want assistance with making or updating your will? Our highly experienced private client team can help. We write Wills for clients throughout Wiltshire, Hampshire and Dorset from our offices in Salisbury, Fordingbridge, Andover and Amesbury.
Click here to read more about making your will