The concept of “common law Spouse” is not recognised in law. It is a common misconception that if you die without a Will then your partner will be entitled to something from your Estate. If you die without a Will then the Deceased’s Estate is governed by the Intestacy Laws. These are set down in the Administration of Estates Act 1925 and recently updated in October 2014.
The Intestacy Laws only apply to married couples or those in a civil partnership. The Law does not apply to cohabitants no matter how long they have lived together. If you die without a Will then your partner will be left with nothing.
Your partner may make a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 if they satisfy certain criteria and can prove a level of dependency. This can however be very stressful and upsetting especially at a time when your loved one is mourning your death. It will mean that they will have to sue your Estate for financial provision. Furthermore, if you have no children or parents then your Estate (other than jointly owned property) will pass to your siblings or if they have died then to your nephews or nieces or in some instances to cousins you may never have heard of.
This will of course involve extra time and costs to your Estate because of litigation and in simply finding out who will be entitled to benefit from your Estate.
The good thing is that all this could be avoided by simply making a Will which deals with your wishes and how you want your Estate to be distributed upon your death.
Contact our Will & Probate Solicitors in an office local to you.