News & Insights

Inheritance Rights of Cohabiting Couples

In 2012 approximately 27% of men and women under the age of 60 were cohabiting in England and Wales, and issues involving the rights of (or lack of) cohabitants are naturally increasing.

If you do not make a Will including your partner, there is no provision in the intestacy rules entitling surviving cohabitants to automatically receive anything from their deceased partner’s estate (whereas, there is for a surviving spouse or civil partner).

If such a situation arose, claims can be brought by a surviving cohabitant against their late partner’s estate whether or not they made a Will. By making a claim, this could provide an award to enable you to continue to live the lifestyle that you were accustomed to when your partner was alive.

If you are a cohabiting partner and feel you have not received adequate provision from your deceased partner’s estate, it is important to seek legal advice to establish what you are potentially entitled to. However, you will need to act promptly as such claims must be brought within 6 months of the grant of probate being issued or (from 1 October 2014) can be brought even before the grant is issued. Please contact our Wills, Trusts & Probate Team on 020 8502 3991.