Cohabitation law changes ‘could prove problematic’

  • Posted

Posted 03/11/2009

Proposed changes to inheritance law relating to cohabitees made by the Law Commission could prove problematic for the legal profession.

At least that is the view of barrister Miranda Allardice, who has claimed that plans to give cohabitees of deceased partners the same treatment as spouses could prove to be a difficult task.

She explained: “You can check that someone is a spouse with a piece of paper … The problem with cohabitation is there isn’t anything as definite as that.”

Therefore, it may be difficult to determine whether or not a person was a true cohabitee, Ms Allardice added.

Under the Law Commission’s proposals, cohabitees would find that they receive the same treatment as spouses when a child is involved or after they have cohabited for more than five years.

At present, a cohabitee who has relied on their partner for financial support would need to make a claim under the Inheritance Act if they feel they have not been sufficiently provided for in their Will.

Independent financial advisor website recently recommended that people should try to avoid inheritance disputes by updating their Will every time they undergo a life-changing event such as marriage, divorce or moving in with a new partner.


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