You like many people, might not realise that there is no such thing as a common law spouse. The laws around inheritance can seem outdated in many areas and don’t recognise modern family structures and living arrangements.
If you’re in a long-term relationship, but not married or in a civil partnership, making a will is particularly important. If you don’t write a will your partner could end up inheriting nothing when you die. Instead your estate would be distributed according to the rules of intestacy which in some circumstances could see a long lost relative inheriting your home and finances, not the person you’ve been sharing your life with.
Things to consider
The only way you can be certain your partner will be able to inherit from your estate when you die is to include them in your will. Once you’ve included them, the only way you remove them is to re-write or change your will. Unlike married partners, they will not automatically be disinherited if you decide to break up in the future. Find out more in our ‘Changing and updating your will’ article.
It is also worth bearing in mind that unlike married couples, anything you leave to your partner will use up your inheritance tax (IHT) allowance of £325,000. Estates left to spouses or civil partners are free from IHT liability (without limit) and can even inherit any unused IHT allowance. Find out more in our ‘inheritance tax rules’ article.
As you make your Affio will, we’ll help you identify who the key people are in your life and give you all the information you need to make the decisions that are right for you and your will.