Simon Read: There may be trouble ahead for cohabiting couples who don’t make a will

Your children have it all, your partner gets nothing

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The Independent Online

Here’s a warning: if you’re not married or in a civil partnership, but have children, recent rule changes could hit your finances.

How? New intestacy regulations, which came into force last month, have left cohabiting couples in legal limbo.

If either of you die without a will, your children will be entitled to your entire estate – leaving a financial headache for the surviving partner.

Sarah Bibby, 37, a designer from Redcar, North Yorkshire, is unmarried and has two children under two years old – twins Charlotte and Ethan. They’re pictured with dad Robert Allinson. Sarah sorted out her will as soon as she discovered the potential problem.

“Wills force you to confront some difficult questions, which puts people off getting one. But ultimately it is in your family’s best interests to confront the questions head-on,” she says.

Under the rules, assets passing to children are held in trust until they reach 18, explains Andrew Caplen, president of the Law Society.

If you don’t have a will, use a solicitor or accountant to help ensure you prepare one correctly. Try Lawsociety.org.uk for lawyers, or the Society of Will Writers (willwriters.com), which works to improve standards in the industry.

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