Unmarried couples do not benefit from the same protections and rights on death as married couples.
Despite several petitions for change, the Government have declined to provide further remedies for unmarried couples on death.
The burden lies with the unmarried couple to either provide for each other through their Wills or opt into the system of marriage.
What is the current position?
If a person dies without making a Will, the rules of intestacy will govern their estate. Under these rules, unmarried couples have no right to benefit from their partner’s estate. The position remains the same regardless of the length of the relationship or whether the couple has children together.
The survivor can make a claim against their partner’s estate on the ground that the intestacy rules do not afford them reasonable financial provision. However, even a successful claim is limited to what would be reasonable for the unmarried partner to receive for his or her maintenance.
In a loving relationship, this is unlikely to be what each party intended.
The one simple way to make sure your partner benefits
If you choose not to marry, it is down to you to ensure that you provide for your partner on your death. The only way to do this is by making a Will.
Navigating the laws of succession as an unmarried couple can be difficult and you may benefit from seeking professional advice. A professional will be able to look at your assets and provide you with tailored advice on how to incorporate your wishes for your partner into your new Will. They may also cover other important considerations for unmarried couples, such as your pension arrangements on death and the benefit of any life policies.
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