Dear TheGayUK

My partner and I have been together for 6 years and although we’re not civilly married, I was wondering what our rights were in case of an accident or death. We currently rent and don’t own our house, but we do have various other assets such as stocks and savings. Neither of us have made a will. What would happen to the surviving partner if the worst was to happen? Would my assets go directly to him?

 

Thank you for your time

Steve N. Tunbridge Wells

 

The simple answer is no. Currently co-habiting partners have no (automatic) legal right to inheritance from their Partner’s estate unless such inheritance is granted in a Will. Only assets that are held Jointly (such as Joint Bank Accounts) will pass to the surviving Partner by the process of Survivorship and requires the simple removal of the deceased Partner’s name from the account etc; such assets are not affected by the presence (nor contents) of any Will. In the case where the deceased Partner left no Will (or a defective/invalid Will) all assets held in the deceased Partner’s sole name will pass according to the Laws of Intestacy. The Laws of Intestacy stipulate who will inherit the estate in a strict order of priority of blood relatives, spouse/civil partner, children, parents, siblings and so on and so forth, co-habiting Partners do not feature in this list!

 

My advice would be to always seek professional advice of a Solicitor to draw up appropriate “Mirror” Wills to ensure that the loved ones left behind are not unwittingly disinherited through inaction.

 

This response is not intended to constitute legal or other professional advice, and should not be relied on or treated as a substitute for specific advice relevant to particular circumstances. Individuals should always seek legal advice from a professional which is specific to their unique set of circumstances.

 
 

More About The Author

 

You can find out more about Matt at http://uk.linkedin.com/pub/matt-parr/37/373/135

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