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Read more articles in: Private Client, Rachel Blackburn

What are you entitled to if your cohabiting partner dies?

If your partner has recently died and you are unsure of your rights, it is important to understand what you are entitled to.

What are you entitled to?

If you are unmarried and living together, you are not automatically entitled to inherit your partner’s share of any property, even if you lived in it together.

A surviving partner will only inherit this if it is stated in a will.

This can be a common issue as there are more unmarried couples than there are people who have made a will.

There are some circumstances in which you will automatically inherit some assets. For example, if you owned a joint bank account with your partner, you will inherit this as you are already listed as a joint owner.

Property Ownership – Joint tenants vs tenants in common

If you own your property as joint tenants and one of you dies, the other will automatically own the whole property by themselves as you have equal rights to the whole property.

If you own it as tenants in common and your partner dies, the property does not automatically pass to you. This is because the property is owned partially by each person.

If they didn’t leave a will

If your partner did not leave a will, the rules of intestacy apply.

For you, this means that the relatives of your partner will be the beneficiaries of their estate, regardless of whether they spoke or hadn’t seen each other in years. You are not entitled to receive anything, even if you lived with them.

If you are in a relationship but are unmarried and are concerned about this, you should take steps to ensure that your partner will inherit if you pass away. This includes making a will.

If you need advice on making a will or related matters, contact us today.


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