Why co-habitees and single people should make a will

Cohabitation in the UK has increased by over 25% in the ten years between 2008-2018.

Although marriages remain the most common structure, the fact that the number of cohabitees have increased may mean that people don’t realise the impact of not having a Will.


Many people believe that cohabitees have the rights and responsibilities of marriage, but they don’t. The phrase ‘common law marriage’ is not recognised in England and Wales. It makes no difference if there is a child of the relationship either.

If you own a property with a partner then you may not inherit their share of the property when they die, depending on the form of ownership. You might find yourself having to make a claim against their estate if they die without a will and their property and cash go to their nearest relative as determined by the Government.

The number of people living alone has also increased, passing the eight million mark in 2018, an increase of 300,000 since the previous year. This increase mainly consists of women aged 45 to 64 years and men aged 65 to 74 years. These categories of people should also have a Will to ensure that their property passes where they wish it to, rather than where the Government decides. For example, single women with no children will find their assets passing to their parents (if alive) and this could cause an Inheritance Tax problem for them!

For more information contact our team on 01539 721945 or via our website www.thwlegal.co.uk

Published 21 May 2020

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