Updated: Aug 12, 2019
If you’re unmarried and cohabiting with your partner, what are your rights when one dies?
How can you be sure that your partner benefits from your inheritance if the worst happens, and one of you dies?
As you might know, unmarried couples don’t have the same legal protection as married couples. An unmarried couple can never be ‘common law married’ because that law hasn’t existed since 1753! The only way to get the legal rights of a married couple is to get married. This remains the case even if you have lived together for a long time, have kids or buy a house together.
Unmarried cohabiting couples have no automatic right of inheritance if their partner dies without a Will. When someone dies without a Will, there are legal rules (called ‘intestacy rules’) which decide who benefits from their estate. Unmarried partners are not included under intestacy rules.
When one cohabiting partner dies without a Will, there are complex laws and other considerations such as:
The Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975
Grant of Probate / Letters of Administration
The financial resources and needs of the applicant, and any other applicants making a claim
The resources and needs which any beneficiary is likely to have in the foreseeable futureThe value (after tax) and nature of the deceased’s estate
Any physical or mental disability of any applicant
Unmarried couples living in Spain
The law in Spain currently does not automatically recognise a claim on property and assets between unmarried couples, should one partner die. Neither do such couples automatically inherit their partner’s property and assets upon death – unless there is a legally recognised Spanish Will which states what you want to happen.
As you can imagine, this can all be a legal minefield. If this applies to you, and you’d like to be guided through it, call me to discuss further on +44 7831 379562 (UK) or +34 622 374 738 (Spain), or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a confidential chat.