T: 01202 802807

T: 01202 802807

Wills for Cohabiting Partners

Wills for Cohabiting Partners

Wills for Cohabiting Partners

If you are in an unmarried relationship, you need an up-to-date Will. If you do not make a Will your cohabiting partner will not inherit under the intestacy rules. That may mean they are financially exposed if you pass away. Equally, you may also be at risk if they pass away before you do so. The risks can be resolved by you both writing a Will or updating your existing Wills.

The Will and estate planning team at Solomons Solicitors can help you with all your Will and estate planning needs.

Contact our team today to find out how we can help you. 

Why you need a Will if you are in an unmarried relationship

Many people think that nowadays there is little difference between being married or living with a long-term partner. You may have the same relationship trappings; the children, the family home and all the things associated with daily life as a couple. However, you do not have the same status in law as there is no legal concept of a common-law husband or wife in English law.

The law can create unfairness. If you married the day before you passed away your spouse may inherit your entire estate under intestacy rules. An unmarried partner would inherit nothing under intestacy rules even if you had been in a relationship for over 20 years. That is why you need a Will if you are cohabiting with your partner.

Estate planning and family dynamics

Whether you are married or cohabiting your family dynamics may be complicated. You may have been married previously. Your former spouse may be entitled to make a claim against your estate if there is no financial clean break court order in place. You may have children from a previous relationship as well as children with your current partner. You may even still jointly own a property with a former spouse or partner. All these family dynamics need to be considered when you are estate planning and sorting out your Will.

Your Will solicitor will want to know a bit about the family dynamics so they can advise you on whether someone could try to claim a share of your estate if you do not make provision for them in your Will. The law details the people who can make an estate claim if either your Will or the intestacy rules do not make reasonable financial provisions for them. Potential claimants include a person you have lived with for 2 years, a spouse, a former spouse (unless there is a clean break financial court order), your children or someone who was financially dependent on you.

What should go into your Will

If you are in a cohabiting relationship your Will needs careful consideration so you ensure everything is covered, you minimise potential inheritance tax liability and you reduce the risk of a claim being made against your estate.

Items to include in your Will are:

  1. The appointment of executors – this could be your partner or adult children or you may prefer to appoint your Will solicitors as your executors or ask them to act with a family member 
  2. The appointment of a testamentary guardian if you have young children
  3. Specific legacies such as leaving sentimental items to a close friend or a legacy to a cousin or grandchild
  4. Residuary estate provision so your executors know who should receive the balance of your estate after any bills and specific legacies have been paid. Your residuary estate could be left outright to your chosen beneficiaries or you could leave your residuary estate in trust. A trust can be flexible and a good option if you have a blended family and you want to try and ensure that your Will can flexibly meet their needs and reduce the risk of an estate claim

Speak to our Bournemouth-based Will Solicitors today

Solomons Solicitors can help you with all your Will and estate planning needs.

For a free initial consultation, call us today on 01202 802 807 or use our online contact form.

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