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If you and your partner are unmarried, you need to think about making a Will in order to protect their interests. In 2018, the figure stood at over 2.5 million unmarried couples living together in the UK according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS). That figures has continued to rise since, with cohabiting unmarried couples being the second largest family type.
Here we look at 7 of the biggest reasons why making a valid Will is really important to give you and your loved ones peace of mind that they’ll be protected, whatever happens.
1 – Common Law Partners
It’s a common misconception that if you live together, even for an extended period of time, you will be viewed as a “common law partners” and be eligible to inherit from your partner’s estates. However this is not a recognised legal status and can cause a lot of stress and upset after the death of a partner. If you’re unmarried, there are lots of legal complexities and your partner could be left without any financial support and may even lose your home.
2 – Taking Back Control
You can outline your wishes and be sure they will be carried out. If you do not make a Will then the process of inheritance will revert to the standards set by UK law. It’s safe to assume that most people would rather have control over their assets and who inherits from them when they die. A Will gives you this benefit and can be changed as and when you like, if circumstances change.
3 – Protecting Your Home
Your home will be safe. Dependant on who owns your house and how this has been arranged, there is a chance that one partner may lose their home if you are unmarried and no Will is created. If you are Joint Tenants, then should you or your partner die, full ownership of the house will fall to the surviving partner.
If you are Tenants In Common then both partners will own a share of the house, usually 50/50. If one party dies, the percentage of the house which belongs to that partner will become part of their estate, passing on in-line with the Rules of Intestacy outlined by the government. This means that the surviving partner may lose the home altogether. It’s important to clarify your situation and how this can affect rights to ownership.
4 – Claiming Pensions
By creating a Will you can support any wishes you have outlined for your partner to receive a share of any occupational pensions after your death. These form part of your estate. Although you are able to nominate someone to claim a share of your pension other than yourself, this will give a more viable legal claim for your partner to do so.
5 – Supporting All Of Your Children
If you and your partner have children in your care, making a Will ensures that provisions are made to enable your partner to continue to house and provide for your children adequately should you die. This covers any foster or unadopted step-children, who would otherwise not receive any inheritance under standard inheritance law.
6 – Guardianship Of Your Children
Creating a Will should you have children also allows you to make arrangements for the care of your children should something happen to you if you are sole legal parent, or and your partner if you are an unmarried couple. By appointing guardians in your Will, you can rest easy knowing that any children under 18 will be cared for in any event.
7 – Avoiding Disputes
To avoid family disputes, it’s best to have your express wishes written down, making sure the Will is legally valid and executable. By not leaving a Will, especially if you are unmarried or have a complicated family set-up, disputes about inheritance of your estate can be commonplace. This will save any obscurity and delays, as well as the possibility of someone contesting the inheritance of another.
Is it complicated to make a Will?
Making a Will doesn’t have to be complicated, but it does have to be done right.
With so many ways to make a Will, which service should you choose and how can you be confident that it will meet your needs? There are many things that can go wrong if your Will is not created clearly and correctly, so having guidance from a specialist Will writing company can help you get it right first time.