Posted by James McNeile, Partner
On 1 September 2016 Withy King LLP merged with Royds LLP. The trading name for the merged firm is Royds Withy King. All content produced prior to this date will remain in the name of the firms pre-merger.
Living together? Then you should make a will
Around six million people in the UK are living with a partner and the number looks set to keep growing.
In research carried out at the end of last year, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that the number of opposite sex cohabiting couples has shot up by almost three-quarters of a million in a decade – rising from 2.2 million in 2003 to 2.9 million in 2013 – with some experts forecasting that there will be 3.8 million couples living together by 2031.
The number of same sex cohabiting couples also increased in the same period, from 53,000 to 89,000.
Whilst living together is an increasingly popular choice, couples who cohabit do not enjoy the same legal protections as those who are married or in a civil partnership, which is particularly significant if one partner dies without having made a will.
Under the laws of intestacy, the surviving partner would inherit nothing, no matter how long the relationship has lasted and there is no sign of any impending change to the law in this respect.
With research suggesting only a third to a half of British adults have made a will, millions of cohabitees could find themselves in a very vulnerable position financially if their partner dies without a will in place.
It is very easy to put these matters off to another day but the sooner you make a will the better since you can put plans in place to protect the financial security of family members and particularly of co-habiting partners. Making wills also allows couples – whether married, in a civil partnership or cohabiting – to set out their wishes for the future care of young children, in the event that they both pass away.
Making a will is not as expensive as many people think and putting one in place is a wise investment, which will give you peace of mind and ensure that your loved ones are spared additional stress and cost at an already difficult time.