(March 2021) Millions of couples across the UK are choosing to forego marriage and live as cohabitees. However, without proper estate planning, they could be putting their finances at risk. Unlike their married counterparts, unmarried couples have no automatic right to inherit from each other. However, with proper estate planning, you can ensure your cohabiting partner is properly provided for should you pass away.
This article looks at some of the important estate planning matters all cohabiting couples should consider.
The most straightforward way to provide for your partner should you pass away, is to write a will. No matter how long you and your partner have been together, without a will in place, there is no way to ensure that your partner will receive a share of your assets when you die.
When a person dies without a will, their estate will be distributed in line with the rules of intestacy. Sadly, for cohabiting couples, this can mean that the surviving cohabitee loses their home and a source of income. The surviving cohabitee may need to make an application to the court to get a share of the family home and may even end up in a difficult legal battle with any children or other family members.
As a result, it is essential that you discuss with your partner what you wish to happen to your property after you pass away and instruct a specialist lawyer to draft a will for each of you.
What cohabitees will need to include in their will depends on their circumstances and whether you have any children, either from previous relationships or together. Children can complicate inheritance matters, and you should seek legal advice on your specific circumstances.
However, to ensure that your partner is provided for after you pass away, you should include:
There are many estate planning matters cohabiting couples should discuss; however, ensuring you have properly drafted Wills in place is the first step.