The Importance Of Making A Will For Unmarried Couples

Importance of Wills

In her latest Timms blog, Wills and Probate Solicitor, Sara Hilliard discusses the importance of Wills for unmarried couples.

The importance of Wills for unmarried couples still stands. The fact is still that cohabiting couples are not afforded the same rights as married couples or couples in a civil partnership.

Why Is It Important For Cohabitating Couples To Make A Will?

There is a public misconception that cohabitees have similar rights to married couples but this is simply not true.

Many couples are now deciding to live together rather than marry each other. This is especially common when one or both of them have been previously married and divorced.

A key problem could arise if a cohabitee has not prepared a Will.  Under the intestacy rules, which come into play when someone dies without a Will, a co-habiting partner will not automatically inherit anything from their deceased partner’s estate.

Obviously, if a couple have been living together for a long period of time, this could have a catastrophic effect on the surviving partner.   For example, if a cohabiting couple live in a house solely owned by one of them and that person dies without a Will, the surviving partner could find themselves homeless, as the deceased partner’s estate, which includes the property, could end up with unfriendly beneficiaries or even an estranged spouse, who had remained married to the deceased at the time of death. The surviving Partner would be able to challenge the intestacy under the Inheritance (provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, but the result is never guaranteed and the costs can be extortionate.

To avoid all this happening, cohabitees should be looking to prepare a Will to ensure that their wishes are carried out, especially if they want to protect their partner or balance the rights of the partner against those of their family.

How Can We Help?

By taking professional advice and making a Will you can ensure that all your loved ones will be considered. If necessary, a clause can be inserted into your Will which would allow the surviving partner to live in the property, protected in the way that you would wish them to be, with it ultimately passing to beneficiaries of your choice.

For further information on making or updating a Will, please do not hesitate to contact me on 01332 364436 or by email at  Alternatively, you can visit the Wills and Probate section of our website here.

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Sara Hilliard

January 2023


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