Wills and cohabitation

Cohabiting couples are not afforded the same rights as married couples. Often cohabiting couples either put off making a will or make a common assumption under the “myth of the common marriage” that their share will pass to their partner. This is absolutely not what would happen if you did not make a will as there is no such thing as a common law spouse. 

What your partner would receive in the event of your death depends on how you own your property and what provision you make in your will, if you have one. 

In the case of couples owning their property as beneficial joint tenants, it will automatically pass to the survivor upon the other party’s death, regardless of the deceased’s will. 

If cohabiting couples own their property as tenants in common, then the deceased’s share in the property will pass under the deceased party’s will or under the intestacy rules. The intestacy rules do not make any provision for an unmarried partner. In this case the deceased’s share of the property will pass as part of their estate to their next of kin (usually a parent, sibling or child) and the surviving partner may be forced to sell the property to realise the estate’s share. 

Simple lack of awareness, forethought or delaying planning can often result in additional trauma, expense and disputes and a loved one having to sell the family home. 

Seek advice and have open conversations from the outset. 

Main contacts

Contact one of our lawyers to discuss wills and cohabitation.

  • Andrew Playle

    Andrew Playle

    Partner

    • +(44)(0)113 388 8470
    • Email Andrew

      Contact Andrew Playle

      * = required

       
       
         
       

      Mills & Reeve will use the information you provide in this form in accordance with our privacy policy. We may from time to time send you general updates by email or post that we think you will find of interest. This includes notification of upcoming event and updates or alerts containing relevant legal news. You can update your preferences at any time and will be able to easily unsubscribe from anything that you do not wish to receive.

      Thank you

      Thank you for your enquiry. We will be in touch shortly.

    • Leeds
  • Chris Belcher

    Chris Belcher

    Partner

    • +(44)(0)1223 222618
    • Email Chris

      Contact Chris Belcher

      * = required

       
       
         
       

      Mills & Reeve will use the information you provide in this form in accordance with our privacy policy. We may from time to time send you general updates by email or post that we think you will find of interest. This includes notification of upcoming event and updates or alerts containing relevant legal news. You can update your preferences at any time and will be able to easily unsubscribe from anything that you do not wish to receive.

      Thank you

      Thank you for your enquiry. We will be in touch shortly.

    • Cambridge
  • John Grundy

    John Grundy

    Partner

    • +(44)(0)121 456 8212
    • Email John

      Contact John Grundy

      * = required

       
       
         
       

      Mills & Reeve will use the information you provide in this form in accordance with our privacy policy. We may from time to time send you general updates by email or post that we think you will find of interest. This includes notification of upcoming event and updates or alerts containing relevant legal news. You can update your preferences at any time and will be able to easily unsubscribe from anything that you do not wish to receive.

      Thank you

      Thank you for your enquiry. We will be in touch shortly.

    • Birmingham
  • Tony Hall

    Tony Hall

    Partner

    • +(44)(0)161 234 8820
    • Email Tony

      Contact Tony Hall

      * = required

       
       
         
       

      Mills & Reeve will use the information you provide in this form in accordance with our privacy policy. We may from time to time send you general updates by email or post that we think you will find of interest. This includes notification of upcoming event and updates or alerts containing relevant legal news. You can update your preferences at any time and will be able to easily unsubscribe from anything that you do not wish to receive.

      Thank you

      Thank you for your enquiry. We will be in touch shortly.

    • Manchester
  • Virginia Edgecombe
    • +(44)(0)1603 693293
    • Email Virginia

      Contact Virginia Edgecombe

      * = required

       
       
         
       

      Mills & Reeve will use the information you provide in this form in accordance with our privacy policy. We may from time to time send you general updates by email or post that we think you will find of interest. This includes notification of upcoming event and updates or alerts containing relevant legal news. You can update your preferences at any time and will be able to easily unsubscribe from anything that you do not wish to receive.

      Thank you

      Thank you for your enquiry. We will be in touch shortly.

    • Norwich
Mills & Reeve Sites navigation
A tabbed collection of Mills & Reeve sites.
Sites
My Mills & Reeve navigation
Subscribe to, or manage your My Mills & Reeve account.
My M&R

Visitors

Register for My M&R to stay up-to-date with legal news and events, create brochures and bookmark pages.

Existing clients

Log in to your client extranet for free matter information, know-how and documents.

Staff

Mills & Reeve system for employees.