10 May Cohabiting Couples: A Will Writing Caution
Writing your Will, especially if you have children that you need to protect, is crucial. Making a Will instantly provides your loved ones with the reassurance they deserve, and gives you that all important peace of mind.
Usually married parents with young children are highlighted within Will advertisements and articles, but The Law Society has recently sent out a warning to unmarried couples. They claim that it is vital for anyone who falls into this category to write a Will, or update an existing one, in order to guarantee that their partner is protected when they are no longer here.
There are numerous couples who have not taken their vows for several reasons – the cost of a wedding can be extortionate, let alone the hassle of organising and worrying about guests, wedding loans, catering and dress shopping (just to name a few.)
Conversely, others do not see a signed document as making any difference to their relationship, and are happy to live their lives without it. Certain couples dislike the idea of sharing everything they own with their other half, and some simply see the concept of marriage as outdated. Whatever the justification, it is not unusual to be residing with an unmarried partner in this modern day and age.
“The cohabiting couple family continues to be the fastest growing family type in the UK in 2015, reaching 3.2 million cohabiting couple families” - GOV.UK
This information from Gov.uk clearly indicates that this lifestyle choice is becoming more and more common. If this is the case for you and your partner, it is imperative to either write a Will, or update an existing Will if necessary to keep your partner protected if you were to die.
Write Your Will Today
It’s as simple as this: no Will means no guarantees. You may think that because you’ve been residing with your partner for years and the worst was to happen, he/she would inherit your estate. In your mind you may feel that this is the inevitable result, but in the eyes of the Law this is not always the case.
No one likes to think about it, but having a Will is your guaranteed safety net. If you or your unmarried partner passes away they may not instantly become the recipient of your estate, and it is very possible that they could end up with nothing at all.
If there are children involved, they may end up receiving the assets, or in some situations an ex-partner may inherit. This entire situation can therefore cause a great deal of stress and hassle. If worst came to worst, the government would receive the assets, which is usually the least desirable option for the family left behind.
Cohabiting Will Crisis
Jane married William when she was 23 after a few months together, but the pair experienced a hostile divorce five years later. Jane went on to meet Michael, who she cohabited with for 30 years. After the unsuccessful marriage with William, Jane had no interest in remarrying.
After 30 years together, Jane tragically died in a road accident. When it came to Michael’s inheritance, it was discovered that Jane had not updated her Will since her marriage to William. Because of this, Jane’s share of the couple’s house and all other assets were given to her ex-husband rather than her dedicated partner of 30 years.
The situation was made worse by the fact that Jane had been estranged from William for a number of years. Instead of receiving much needed financial security, Michael was left with nothing.
Michael took the case to court, which was costly and emotionally draining. Fortunately, the Judge finally ruled in Michael’s favour, but the case caused a great deal of unnecessary work and stress at the worst possible time.
The Law Society’s Will Warning
In order to avoid a situation like this, The Law Society’s president Jonathan Smithers states that because unmarried couples are not recognised by the Law, they need “to make sure they have a valid and up to date Will, and to seek expert legal advice regarding any co-owned property, if they intend their current partner to inherit upon their death”.
Jonathan continued on to say “making a Will is extremely important. Solicitors have the necessary qualifications and training to address the often complex issues associated with drafting a Will and can help ensure that your estate is left to those who you wish to inherit after your death.”
If you are currently in an unmarried relationship with your partner, contact Bernard Chill & Axtell today on 02382 148019 to protect your assets and save your partner and family from an uncertain future without you.
Our specialist Will & Probate solicitors are here to assist you by offering expert, tailored advice and affordable services on a fixed fee basis: Single Wills start from £120 + VAT, with double Wills starting at £190 + VAT.
Call our Will experts Joanna Milner and David Storry today on 02382 148019, or visit http://www.linder-myers.co.uk/wills-probate/