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Remember your partner, not your ex

26 February 2016

Unmarried couples should update their wills to ensure if they die their partner isn't left high and dry.

If a couple is not married (or in a civil partnership), and either partner dies without a will, the one left behind may not be a beneficiary of the deceased's estate and could receive nothing. Any assets would probably go to children, possibly to estranged husbands or wives, or even, in the absence of close relatives, the government.

Last week, a legal journal reported on the case of a bereaved woman, whose long-term partner had not updated his will, resulting in his share of the couple's house going to his estranged wife.

The woman, Ms Williams, took the case to court and though the judge ruled in her favour she said the process had been 'traumatic'. An up-to-date will would have removed a lot of stress and heartache, at a time of bereavement.

President of the Law Society Jonathan Smithers said:

'This case is an important reminder for unmarried couples to make sure they have a valid and up-to-date will, and to seek expert legal advice regarding any co-owned property, if they intend their current partner to inherit upon their death.

'Making a will is extremely important. Solicitors have the necessary qualifications and training to address the often complex issues associated with drafting a will and can help ensure that your estate is left to those who you wish to inherit after your death.'


Notes to editors

About the Law Society

The Law Society is the independent professional body, established for solicitors in 1825, that works globally to support and represent its members, promoting the highest professional standards and the rule of law.


Press contact: Katy Durrans 0207 320 5764