The way couples cohabit is continually changing. Where once it was a given that long-standing relationships would result in marriage, an increasing number of people are opting to take a different approach.
They see no reason to bind themselves on paper when they want the fundamental nature of their partnership to remain the same. Unfortunately the law is increasingly out of touch with modern relationships and doesn’t always change as quickly as the society it represents.
While this is often an invisible issue, problems are most likely to surface when one partner dies – arguably, the worst possible time for the surviving individual to have to consider legalities, and how they are likely to be affected by their loss in a practical sense.
The Wills and Probate department of Paul Crowley & Co are urging unmarried couples to consider protecting themselves by making a Will that safeguards the remaining party’s rights to ensure that they are taken care of should the worst happen.
What’s the issue with cohabitation?
Whether you choose to remain unmarried, view yourselves as common law spouses, or are living together before marriage, the laws surrounding inheritance are unlikely to be on your side.
This is because cohabitation has no legal status despite the fact that the number of unmarried couples living together is on the rise, with more than 2.3 million unmarried couples in the UK.
Natasha says ‘It’s easy to put off making your will, give us a call and we will guide you through the process, making it quick and easy’.
Natasha Booth | Head of Wills and Probate
Paul Crowley & Co.
What happens if you die without a Will
When a person dies without leaving a valid Will, they are called an Intestate person and their estate is distributed in accordance with certain rules.
The rules of Intestacy decide how the estate will be shared out, not the wishes expressed in the will, these rules can sometimes leave those who should be provided for without an Inheritance.
The need to make a valid Will
As a result of these issues, it’s important for unmarried couples to protect each other by making a Will to safeguard their estate.
Paul Crowley & Co’s wills and probate solicitors are experienced in dealing with Inheritance disputes and Intestacy entitlement and will advise you on the best course of action to ensure you have a successful outcome, there are a number of potential issues that they will discuss with you, including:
Your family and other relationships:
Your partner and other relatives
(including children from other relationships)
The size of your estate:
This will include your home and any other assets
Wills for unmarried couples: Know Your Rights
Wills and probate can be a complicated subject for the layperson to get to grips with, it’s important that you know your rights and plan for your future.
Our experienced Wills and probate solicitors at Paul Crowley & Co will guide you through the process, as well as giving you a more informed idea of what will happen should one of you die without a will to specify your wishes.
Only 26% of unmarried couples have such a safety net in place, compared to around 52% of married spouses, it really is essential to look ahead and consider how best you can protect the one you love once you have gone.
If you would like to learn more, why not get in touch, our friendly and approachable team are always happy to talk you though any questions you might have.
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