Whilst there is an increase in the number of people who decide to co-habit together, the understanding of what happens to property and assets if one partner dies is still misunderstood.
If you live with your partner and have decided not to get married or enter into a civil partnership, then the assumption that everything will pass to your partner is incorrect. If no Will is in place which makes a provision for each partner then there is no automatic right against the estate.
If you are in the position whereby your partner owns most of the assets outright, if that partner were to die then their estate would either pass under the terms of their Will, or if they don’t have a Will, the estate will likely pass to their next of kin under the Intestacy Rules. If you and your partner have joint-ownership over your assets if no Will is made, under the laws of intestacy for unmarried couples, you would be entitled to your partner’s half, but the other half would be shared equally between the deceased’s children (if there are any). Where there are no children, the estate would be split in the following order: surviving parents, the deceased’s siblings (or their children if the sibling has died), grandparents, aunts/uncles (or their children if they’ve died). This could mean you may have to share your home with a family member. In the absence of any family members, your partner’s estate would all pass to the Crown.
So making an updated Will to benefit each partner is vital to ensure that further down the line you are both protected and treated as wished, particularly in regards to your property and financial matters. If either of you has made a Will prior to the relationship forming, then it is just as important to get the Will reviewed and updated in order to guarantee the future allocation of assets Trevor Cross, MD, MMAW says, “Making a Will or updating your Will is the only secure way you can ensure that your wishes for your partner regarding the distribution of property and assets is upheld and legal. You have the opportunity to discuss your options with us, and we can help identify and guide you on the appropriate steps, all of which we can support you with.”
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