Unmarried partners don’t inherit anything when their partner dies in the UK, so it’s really important to have a will in place to set out your wishes. This can cover everything from money in the bank, to pensions, to the property you share.
There are around six million unmarried couples who are cohabiting in the UK. According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), that figure has quadrupled in just 15 years.
However, despite the clear rise in people deciding that marriage isn’t for them, the law in the UK still fails to provide any automatic provision in the event of one partner’s death.
Here, we’ll look at what happens to your assets if you don’t make a will – and we’ll also explain how you can write a will online in as little as 15 minute.
If your partner is a parent and dies without a will, their estate will be shared equally between their children, not including any step-children. If any of their children has already died, grandchildren or great-children can inherit their parent’s share.
For example: Sam was unmarried and had two children, Harry and Nina. When Sam died without a will, their estate was worth £500,000. Harry inherited £250,000 but, because Nina had already died, her £250,000 share was passed down to her only child.
Note: If Nina didn’t have children or grandchildren of her own, her share would also have been inherited by Harry.
If your partner doesn’t have any children and dies without a will, their estate would be inherited by their close relatives in the following order of priority:
The laws that set out who inherits when someone dies without a will are known as the rules of intestacy.
If you live with your partner but they own the house, you could be left in very difficult circumstances if they were to die unexpectedly.
Under the rules of intestacy, you wouldn’t stand to inherit their property or any of their assets. So, depending on your relationship with the people who inherit the house and what they choose to do with it, you may end up needing to move out.
By taking 15 minutes to write your wills today, your partner could leave you the house as part of their estate – or vice versa. This could help to save a huge amount of financial strain in the future.
If you and your partner have a joint mortgage, you would likely have to take on the property as a sole owner if they die first. This means that you’d be responsible for paying the mortgage, and you may even need to take out a new mortgage to make sure you can keep up with the payments.
Making a will allows unmarried partners to protect one another from situations like this. By leaving money and savings to your partner, you could give them the extra support they need to continue paying the mortgage.
Unmarried and cohabiting partners have the legal right to claim against their partner’s estate if they’ve been cohabiting for more than two years. However, they aren’t automatically entitled to any of their partner’s property, financial assets, or belongings unless they’re jointly owned.
By making a will, you can help each other avoid the cost, time and stress that comes with claiming against an estate.
It costs around £1,000 to claim against someone’s estate and make a deed of variation. However, this is only possible if everyone who inherits the estate under the rules of intestacy agrees that the unmarried partner should also inherit.
If children under 18 are set to receive part of the estate, then any rearrangement of the estate requires court approval. If there are disagreements, lawyers will be required on both sides, which only adds to the cost and stress for everyone involved.
All of this can be avoided by writing a will online for just £90, or £140 if you and your partner sign up to write couples wills.
Writing a will allows unmarried, common law and cohabiting partners to ensure that the surviving partner is provided for in the event of their death. This includes things like:
Our award-winning will writing service allows you and your partner to write your wills online in as little as 15 minutes.
We usually charge £90 for a single will, but by signing up as a couple and paying together, the total cost is just £140 – saving you £40.
Here’s how it works:
What is a codicil to a will?
Our solicitor-approved will writing service can help you write a will online in as little as 15 minutes.