Unmarried couples fuel will rises

Date: 18 Jan 2012


With over 7.5 million people live in cohabiting families in the UK, one law firm in Manchester is experiencing a 47 per cent increase in the number of enquiries about wills, as changes in the law are being discussed by the government.

Legally, unmarried couples don’t have the same rights as married ones. Under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 if you are a couple who has lived together for two years or more and one of you dies without making a will, then spouses, children, civil partners and cohabitees are entitled to make an application for ‘reasonable financial provision’ in court. Similarly if you are married without a will you will not automatically inherit your partner’s estate this only happens if a couple hold their assets in joint names.

Howard Burns, wills and probate partner at Lewis Hymanson Small, says:

“Until the law changes and unmarried couples have the same rights as married ones they have a moral obligation to their family and their security to draw up a will. This will also stop any unnecessary litigation and disputes. My advice is be prepared for the future especially if you have children and own property.”

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