Unmarried couples ‘must make a will’

A Preston lawyer is urging cohabiting unmarried couples to put making a Will top of their to-do list.

Leanne Malseed, solicitor at Birchall Blackburn Law, believes most of the 700,000 cohabiting unmarried couples in Lancashire won’t have a will, running the risk of assets such as property, shares, savings and personal possessions not being passed over to the surviving partner if one dies.

Cohabiting couples who are not married nor in a civil partnership are left vulnerable if their other half passes away, as under the current rules only partners who are married or in a civil partnership can inherit.

Leanne adds that while recent intestacy rule changes have strengthened the position of married spouses and civil partners, co-habiting couples are still under the assumption that assets will automatically transfer to their partner.

Leanne commented: “We’re seeing more couples in long-term relationships who choose not to get married, some of whom have children.”

“Many of them don’t realise that without a valid Will, their assets are dealt with in accordance with strict intestacy laws and take no account whatsoever of personal wishes or family circumstances.

“With changing family structures it is more important than ever to seek expert legal advice and should make a Will.”

According to statistics from the Law Society, more than one million unmarried couples with dependent children are living in the UK. Three out of four people unfortunately die without ever having made a Will. Birchall Blackburn Law is a member of the Law Society’s Wills and Inheritance quality scheme, which provides a best practice quality mark for wills and estate administration advice.