Living Together – is your partner powerless if things go wrong?
Apparently, only around one in six people living together in the UK have made a will, and that is only the most basic essential for unmarried couples who currently have few real rights, without resorting to Court action in the even of death or incapacity. And Court action is rarely quick or cheap.
Research means that many families are being left at the mercy of the Rules of Intestacy which can leave the grieving partner in the dire situation of having to make an urgent Court claim to avoid being thrown our of the deceased partners home.
That sort of trouble is the last thing anyone needs after the death of a co-habitant. They are under enough strain already.
Simon Hughes, Minister of State at the Ministry of Justice addressed the need for change at a Second Reading Committee for the Inheritance (Cohabitants) Bill in 2012, where it was established that, “the government will introduce changes to modernise and simplify Inheritance Law to benefit many people at what will be a particularly difficult time”. However, it soon became apparent that this was not for the benefit of Cohabitants.
Around half of all couples who live together are not actually married – just calling your selves a married couple has no legal effect, you must go through the legal ceremony to obtain the legal rights of marriage. The Law still does not recognise the situation, and without an appropriate Last Will, the surviving cohabittee will be left to take the rest of the family to Court under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 – at considerable expense to all concerned.
So if you are living with a partner, it is vital to have the correct legal documentation – including Last Wills – in place. So call us!
The situation is also awful when the person you live with has a serious accident or illness. If the poorly partner is unable to make their own decisions, then either the Council or another relation will have to apply to the Court of Protection for a Deputyship Order. That is a long slow and expensive process – and it leaves the partner totally out in the cold as it is unlikely an applictaion from them would even be considered. Please read our pages on Lasting Powers of Attorney – Finance and Heath.
And while you are thinking about it, why not give us a call – the initial chat will be free. Or just leave a message on 01323 406 299 or use the form on our contact page.