Interesting article and statistics regarding the myth of common law marriage. Cohabiting couples do not have the same rights as married couples, and do not automatically inherit from each other if one dies. Making a will is essential in these circumstances to ensure your partner inherits from some or all of your assets.
If you do not make a will:
Your estate will pass to your nearest relatives in accordance with the Laws of Intestacy i.e. your parents, children, brother and sisters, nieces and nephews etc;
Your partner may not inherit anything at all from your estate;
If your partner has acted to their detriment or added to the value of the property i.e. by funding an extension on your property, lengthy and expensive litigation may be required to claim those funds back from the beneficiaries of the estate;
Your partner could be left devastated and homeless by the lack of protection, if there isn't a will; and
Do you have children? The state may take care of your minor children if you have not appointed guardians in your will.
Making a will is easy and can be inexpensive. Contact us today for more information.
04 Nov 2016
Figures published today by the Office of National Statistics reveal that there are now 3.3 million cohabiting couple families in the UK, with the number more than doubling over the last twenty years.
Yet should these couples separate, they currently have little or no legal protection - despite the myth of ‘common law marriage.’ The family law group Resolution today said that the high growth in cohabiting couples is further evidence that the law needs to catch up with modern British society.
Nigel Shepherd, Resolution Chair, said:
“These ONS figures are further proof that more and more couples are choosing to live together and bring up their children without marrying. Sadly, some of those relationships will come to an end at some point. This is a feature of our modern society that is here to stay and unfortunately current cohabitation law is failing to provide them with the rights some of them mistakenly think they have.
“Rather than ignoring these 3.3million families, our lawmakers must respond and introduce safety net legislation that will provide legal protection and fair outcomes at the time of a couple's separation.”
Last year Resolution released its Manifesto for Family Law calling for the introduction of some rights for cohabiting couples when they separate. Research in 2013 from relationships charity One Plus One shows that almost half (47%) of the British public believe in the myth of “common law marriage”, the notion that cohabiting couples have similar legal rights to married people.
Family lawyer Graeme Fraser, Resolution’s spokesman on cohabitation law, said:
“Under current cohabitation law it’s possible to live with someone for decades and even to have children together and then simply walk away without taking any responsibility for a former partner when the relationship breaks down. This can have a huge impact on women and children, particularly in cases where a mother has given up or reduced her work to raise a family”.