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Cohabiting couples beware

 

Another cautionary tale has hit the press this week highlighting the disastrous consequences on not updating your will.

A 69 year old grandmother is having to fight for a roof over her head after her partner of 18 years died with an out of date will.  Miss Williams and Mr Martin had been living together in a property owned by them on a 50/50 basis.  Miss Williams was divorced, but Mr Martin had never actually divorced his wife or updated the will written whilst he was still living with her.  When Mr Martin died suddenly, Miss Williams found that everything owned by Mr Martin, including his share of their house, was inherited by Mr Martin’s estranged wife.  Miss Williams is now having to make a claim through the courts to secure her financial stability for the future and to prevent the sale of the house.

This could have been avoided if Mr Martin had updated his will, or divorced his wife.  The oft repeated notion of “common law spouse” is a myth.

Cohabitees do not have the same rights and protection as spouses, even estranged ones.  Couples who are living together should take legal advice to ensure that the survivor will be provided for on the death of the first party.  Likewise, if your circumstances have changed since writing your will you should make sure that your will still meets your needs.

Contact Gail Sandford of Cohen Cramer solicitors on 0113 2247813 for a free initial consultation regarding a new or updated will.

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