“Cohabitees do not automatically inherit the estate of a deceased partner under the Intestacy Rules, and would only do so if the deceased partner has prepared a Will, and many people still do not do so, for a variety of reasons. Therefore it is vital for cohabitees to prepare Wills, so as to protect each other in the event of the death of one of them, and to avoid the trauma of the surviving partner having to make a claim against the estate of the deceased. Married couples are afforded protection under the Intestacy Rules, but it is still highly advisable for them to prepare Wills, to ensure that their wishes are complied with. If cohabitees enter into a Civil Partnership, they will be afforded the same protection as married couples under the Intestacy Rules, but again it is still advisable for them to prepare Wills in any event” says Mr Prince, Consultant at Kirkham Legal.
“It is unclear when the law will change, so I would advise cohabitees to act now and prepare Wills, to protect themselves in the meantime. In addition, when you go to see a solicitor to prepare the Wills, you should receive advice about your Inheritance Tax position, which can be complicated and potentially financially devastating for cohabitees. Inheritance Tax is not payable for couples in marriages or civil partnerships in respect of the gifts to each other, but gifts between cohabitees are taxable, which can lead to significant monetary problems”, adds Daniel.
If you wish to discuss any of the issues raised above, then please contact Kirkham Legal on 0161 393 2299.