Unmarried, Living Together, Separated or Remarried? Why You Should Make a Will
By Imogen Manuel
The most important thing about making a Will is ensuring that you remain in control of your assets. It does not mean that you are tempting fate!
If you are unmarried and do not make a Will, your surviving partner will not inherit from your estate under the Intestacy Rules. The length of the relationship is irrelevant; it does not matter if you have been together for a year or 25 years.
You may say “Well that’s alright, I am married, so my estate will pass automatically to my surviving spouse.” However, this is not strictly true. Under the Intestacy Rules, depending on if you have children or not, your spouse will inherit the first £250,000 and your personal possessions (regardless of value). Any residue thereafter is distributed in accordance with the Intestacy Rules which may not be what you want.
If you are separated but not yet divorced, then your spouse is likely to still inherit from your estate. If this is not in accordance with your wishes, then making a Will is vitally important.
If you have re-married and have stepchildren, your stepchildren will not inherit under the Intestacy Rules. Biological children and adopted children are treated as having the same legal status, whereas stepchildren are not.
The only way partners and stepchildren could possibly inherit is if they made an application under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act. However, they must first fall within the criteria to make the application and there is no guarantee their application would be successful.
If you have any queries about this legal blog, please contact our Private Client Team at our Old Market House Office on 01243 532777.