• February 28, 2024
 Wills for unmarried couples

Wills for unmarried couples

In this article, Gurpreet Jani, Senior Associate, Private Wealth at Lewis Denley explores the compelling reasons why unmarried couples should consider creating a will to protect their loved ones and ensure their wishes are respected in the event of the unforeseen.

The Crucial Need for Unmarried Couples to Have a Will

Love knows no bounds, and for many couples, the choice to build a life together without marriage is a personal and valid one. However, while romance and shared dreams are the foundation of any strong relationship, there’s a practical aspect that often goes overlooked—the importance of having a will. In this article, we’ll explore the compelling reasons why unmarried couples should consider creating a will to protect their loved ones and ensure their wishes are respected in the event of the unforeseen.

Legal Recognition and Inheritance Laws:

Here in the UK, marriage automatically grants some legal rights to spouses in terms of inheritance. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for unmarried couples. Without a will, the surviving partner may find themselves in a precarious position, as the rules of intestacy will not adequately protect their interests. Creating a will ensures that your partner is legally recognised as a beneficiary, helping to safeguard their financial future.

Protecting Your Partner’s Financial Security:

In the absence of a will, the distribution of assets might not align with your wishes. A carefully drafted will allows you to specify how your estate should be distributed, providing financial security for your partner. This becomes particularly crucial if you own property, as the surviving partner could face challenges in maintaining their residence without clear legal documentation.

Guardianship of Children:

For unmarried couples with children, a will is an invaluable tool for specifying guardianship arrangements. In the unfortunate event of the death of one or both parents, a will ensures that the surviving partner has a say in who will care for their children. Without a will, the decision may fall into the hands of the courts, potentially leading to outcomes that do not align with your wishes.

Avoiding Family Disputes:

When a loved one passes away without a will, family disputes can arise over the distribution of assets. Unmarried couples, especially those with blended families, may face additional challenges as they navigate complex family dynamics. A clear, legally binding will minimizes the risk of conflicts and ensures that your wishes are carried out without causing unnecessary strain on relationships.

Providing for Dependents and Loved Ones:

A will goes beyond asset distribution; it allows you to make provisions for dependents, such as elderly parents, siblings, or even close friends. Unmarried couples often have unique family structures, and a will enables you to provide for those who matter most to you, even if they are not biologically related.

Summary

While the notion of drafting a will may seem daunting or reserved for those with vast estates, it is a crucial step for unmarried couples looking to secure their shared future. Love is about caring for one another, and creating a will is an act of love that transcends the romantic realm into the practical aspects of life. By taking this step, unmarried couples in the UK can ensure that their legacy is preserved, their loved ones are protected, and their dreams live on even in the face of life’s uncertainties.

Gurpreet Jani (Senior Associate, Private Wealth at Lewis)