If you and your partner are living together and not married, you are part of a growing demographic in the UK. Latest reports from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reports that some 3.4 million households across the country (or around 18% of all households) comprise an unmarried couple – either with or without children.
With cohabiting couples being such a popular family arrangement, you’d think that the laws regarding a person’s estate would reflect that and offer the same protections to unmarried couples as it does to married couples.
Sadly, that is not the case.
The common-law fallacy
No matter how long you and your partner have been living together, they are afforded no recognition under the law if you die intestate (that is, if you die without drafting a last will and testament).
If you have children together, your estate automatically transfers to them, to be divided equally. If you don’t have children, your estate passes to your next of kin, whomever that might be. Property, savings, and other assets – unless held in joint names – become part of that estate, and your partner has no automatic claim to them.
Claiming against an estate
Should you die intestate, you partner would have to put a claim against your estate for financial maintenance. These claims are often divisive, being lodged against members of your family, or even your (and your partner’s) own children. While the claim may be successful, they often take a long time and can result in a permanent familial rift.
Protecting your partner’s interests
To ensure you partner gets the financial and legal protection they deserve in the event of your passing, it’s important that you draft a will, or rewrite an existing will, naming them as your beneficiary. With this in place, you can be sure that they will be provided for when they need it the most, and will be spared the strain of later court action.
If you need assistance writing a will, get in touch with the professionals. Paradigm Wills is a member of the Institute of Professional Willwriters (IPW) and we are fully qualified to provide you with all the legal advice you need to draw up a will. Call us today on 0800 999 7750 and one of our experienced team members will be happy to assist you.