More couples in recent years are choosing cohabitation rather than marriage. Many believe they have the same rights as married couples, however, this not true as the law does not treat cohabitants the same way as a spouse. There is no such thing as a ‘common law marriage’ and under the intestacy rules, the survivor is not guaranteed a right in their partner’s estate.
Below are some points to consider:
Your Property and Making a Will
Rights in respect of jointly owned property, upon separation or death, depends on how the property is held. There are two ways property can be owned by two or more people:
If the property is held as Tenants in Common, it is advisable to enter into a Declaration of Trust to establish the divisible shares in relation to the property ownership and both owners should make a Will.
Under the intestacy rules the survivor is not guaranteed a right in their partner’s estate. Just as importantly for such couples the survivor has no legal right to organise other matters such as funeral arrangements. If you make a Will you can appoint an Executor to deal with your estate and ensure your wishes are carried out.
Lasting Power of Attorneys
When cohabitants are planning for the future it would be proactive to each have a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA): The two LPAs available are:
For more information, contact Sarah Bourke on 01922 639 080.
About the Author, Sarah Bourke.
Sarah joined Walker Solicitors in August 2017.
Legal Assistant in our Wills Department.
T: 01922 639 080
Walker Solicitors is a trade name of Walker Solicitors Ltd. Registered in England (Company No: 9608224). Registered office: 206a-212 Stafford Street, Walsall WS2 8DW. A list of members is available for inspection at this office. We use the word ‘partner’ to refer to a member of the company or an employee or consultant who is a solicitor with equivalent standing and qualification.