When couples meet in later life or simply choose not to get married, although living together, they may not be protected when one of them dies.
Unfortunately, cohabiting couples are not recognised in law the same way that married couples or those in a civil partnership are.
So, what legally happens to couples when one of them dies without leaving a Will?
Common law spouse
According to intestacy rules, if you die without leaving a Will, in this case, your partner will not receive anything from your estate other than anything held jointly.
Looking to the future
There are some legal benefits to marrying:
– Spouse exemption – anything left to a spouse is exempt from Inheritance Tax (IHT).
– Transferable nil rate band – you can use the first £325,000 of your spouse’s nil rate band, along with your own, providing your spouse did not use their allowance.
– Intestacy – if a Will is not left, upon your death, where there are children, your spouse is entitled to the first £250,000 of the estate and, the interest on half the residue.
Make a Will
It is vitally important for unmarried couples to make a Will specifying their wishes and how they would like their estate to be divided.
Although you may have lived together for many years and even share children, unless you have a Will, you cannot guarantee that your partner will be protected or provided for following your death.
To discuss making a Will and advice on other services regarding your estate, contact LCS NOW on 0345 017 8250.