People may often think that entering into Wills are something that you should do in later life or when you have “lots of money”. Unfortunately, it is not something the younger generation typically consider the need for. Whilst the Covid pandemic saw a rise of 18-34 year olds entering into Wills, the vast majority still do not have these documents in place and perhaps have not even considered them.

Research conducted by the government in 2022 showed a 144% rise in couples cohabiting, from 1996 to 2021, rather than marrying or entering into civil partnerships. This emphasises the importance of Wills which can provide protection to your partner. Unfortunately, cohabiting couples is still not something fully recognised by law. In 2011 the Law Commission recommended rights of inheritance for cohabiting couples, however the government has not yet implemented any laws in this regard.

At the moment, if you cohabit with your partner and do not have a Will in place, your estate will be dealt with by the rules of intestacy, with your partner potentially finding themselves in a situation where they would have to make a claim on your estate under the Inheritance (Provision for Family & Dependants) Act 1975 to benefit from your estate.

For example, if you own a property with your partner, it should not be assumed that on the death of one of you that the other would automatically receive the property. In fact, the rules of intestacy may see your partner co-owning property with your parents or siblings etc.

Wills are a way of ensuring your property passes to the people you wish. Therefore, taking the example of co-owning a property,  if you would like your partner to have a benefit from your half, there are options we could incorporate within your Wills such as; passing your half of the property to your partner absolutely, giving a right of occupation or providing a life interest.

Whatever your wish may be in relation to your property and assets, if you are cohabiting with your partner, have shared assets, or have children together, Wills provide certainty that your estate will pass in accordance with your wishes.

If you would like to make a will for you and your partner, or have any further questions, please contact a member of our Wills, Trusts and Probate team.