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Wills and inheriting

Couple 2 And Child 1 newTwo thirds of people in the UK never get round to making a will. Most of us mean to, but put it off thinking that there's no hurry. Many of us also assume that, if the worst did happen, the law would ensure our belongings went to our loved ones anyway. But unfortunately this is not the case for many of us, particularly for unmarried couples.

If you're not married to your partner (or have not formed a civil partnership) and you die before you make a will, your partner won't automatically inherit anything from you. It doesn’t matter how long you were together. It doesn’t matter how committed you were. Instead, the law dictates that everything will go to your nearest blood relative, regardless of your wishes. In fact, if you don't leave a will, the Crown is more likely to automatically inherit from you than your partner!

For more on why it's particularly crucial to make a will if you aren't married to your partner, and most importantly, how you make one - see our guide to Wills and LivingTogether (490 KB).

This guide also looks at what your rights are if your partner has died without leaving a will, and how, in certain situations, all may not be entirely lost.

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October 2010

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Married or not - One Plus One

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Married or not looks at the differences between marriage and cohabitation, what your rights are, and how to raise some of the trickier issues with your partner.

One Plus One are partners in the LivingTogether project,

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