wills for cohabiting couples

A will can help you to provide that much-needed financial security for your partner and your family when you pass away.

If you and your partner are unmarried you’ll have different cohabitation rights to those who are married or in civil partnerships. Being aware of these rights can help you to plan for the future and ensure that your loved ones are looked after when you pass on.

In this guide, we’ll go over the rights of unmarried couples if one dies and how to get help writing a will if you’re a cohabiting couple.


Cohabitation rights

In general, you are a classed as a ‘cohabiting couple’ if you and your partner are living together and you are not married or in a civil partnership. This means you also have limited legal rights in a range of areas including property, inheritance and child custody.

Unmarried partners rights after death differ significantly from those of married couples. If you are married and you pass away, your partner is automatically legally entitled to inherit some or all of your possessions, and they will be exempt from inheritance tax.

However, if you are unmarried your partner will not inherit anything unless it’s outlined in your will, and they will be liable for inheritance tax.


Wills for unmarried couples

If you and your partner are cohabiting, it is essential that you write a will. This should outline who your assets should go to once you die and it will also give you peace of mind that your partner and family will be properly accounted for. If you don’t write a will, your partner will not be entitled to any assets regardless of how long you’ve lived together.

Once a will is drawn up, you should tell your partner where to find it and make sure it is valid so that it can come into effect once you pass away. For a will to be considered valid it should be:


  • Written by someone aged 18+
  • Made voluntarily (without pressure from another person)
  • Made by someone of sound mind
  • In writing
  • Signed by the will-writer in the presence of two witnesses
  • Signed by two witnesses (witnesses cannot benefit from the will)


When to get help with your will

There are several options when it comes to writing a will. You can do it yourself; use a will-writing service or enlist the help of a wills and probate solicitor.

Writing your will by yourself can be a viable option if your situation is straightforward; however, if you are part of a cohabiting couple or your financial situation is complicated, using a solicitor can help you to avoid mistakes and create an airtight will that will do exactly as you intend it to.

Get in contact with ET Law Limited’ experienced wills and probate solicitors today to get the proper assistance and guidance you need when writing a will.


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