Today, more and more of us are choosing to stay as unmarried couples in a household. As a result, the number of unmarried couples living as a family has risen by 33%.

Numerous cohabitee couples are not aware of the risk they may face, if their partner never draws up a Will. It is a common misconception that cohabitees who have never legally married still have a ‘legal’ standing.

You may have contributed to the family home together and have lived there for a long period of time; however, if you do not have Wills drawn up for the benefit of each other, your property (depending on how it is held i.e. solely, tenants in common) shall follow the intestacy rules. The intestacy rules only take into account the benefit of close family members, such as children and parents.

Abigail Wells, a Trainee Legal Executive at Thursfields solicitors states ‘When unmarried couples come to us for advice on their Wills, they are often surprised to hear what situation they could find themselves in, if they do not have Wills drawn up.”

Statistics show that one third of people in the UK die without leaving a Will in place and that their estate shall follow the intestacy rules. This can cause unnecessary stress for the relatives involved and delays in the administration of your estate.

If you die without leaving a Will, your cohabitee may have to go down the route of bringing a claim under your estate, under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. This can be costly and can affect family relationships. Regrettably, even the recent legalisation of the Inheritance and Trustees’ Powers Act 2014 has not recognised the rights of cohabitee couples.

Having a Will professionally prepared is a small cost to pay, in light of the consequences which can result if there is not one in place. Give us a call to prepare your Will on 0121 227 3850 or contact awells@thursfields.co.uk

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