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Issue:- SATURDAY 18 July 2015

More than 2m cohabiting couples at risk of leaving finances in legal limbo

THE ONS revealed the number of cohabiting couples rose by 46% between 2002 and 2014, from 1,407,862 to 2,055,542.  Gary Rycroft, solicitor and member of the Law Society's Wills and Equity Committee, said cohabiting couples need to make sure they have a professionally drafted will.

"It is vitally important couples that are not married or in a civil partnership have a will drawn up by a professional solicitor," he said. "Under intestacy rules, if no will is in place assets pass automatically to the closest blood relatives who are often children of the deceased or parents or siblings. This means if you die your surviving partner could be left in an emotional and financial mess, with no access to vital funds to help them cope. Dying without a will not only means your final wishes could go unmet, but could leave problems for your loved ones to sort out. Don't make this mess your legacy."

Under the intestacy rules, only partners who are married or in a civil partnership can inherit. If you are not in this position your children will be entitled to your entire estate; leaving your surviving partner with nothing.

Mr Rycroft said consumers need to be able to distinguish between those who are unregulated, uninsured and untrained, and solicitors who offer a quality service. "Using a regulated solicitor who is a member of the Law Society is the only way to give you future financial security".

Sarah Bibby, 37, a designer from Redcar, North Yorkshire, has been in a relationship with Rob Allinson for 17 years and they have 2-year-old twins, Charlotte and Ethan. Sarah said learning she would inherit nothing if Rob passed away without a will had reinforced her desire to get one written as quickly as possible. "We realise we need to draw up a will and intend to make it a priority. Learning we could be left high and dry has really focused our minds. If Rob died, not only would I have to deal with the grief, I could be left with a financial crisis on my hands as well as struggling to raise 2 children. Wills force you to confront some difficult questions, and I think this puts people off getting one. But ultimately it's in your family's best interests to confront these questions head on."

To find a solicitor specialising in wills and probate visit the Law Society's Find a Solicitor service website. Alternatively, search:- 'Find a Solicitor' from your web browser.  To find out more about cohabiting and the associated legal issues, please visit the Law Society website.

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Deceased estates notice - Lilian May Jackam

Pursuant to the Trustee Act 1925, any persons having a claim against or an interest in the Estate of Lilian May Jackam (also known as Lillian May) Jackam (Deceased), late of Birch Abbey Rest Home, 55 Alexandra Road, Southport, Merseyside, PR9 9HD, UK, who died on 04/10/2018, are required to send particulars thereof in writing, to the undersigned Solicitors, on or before 24/05/2019, after which date the Estate will be distributed having regard only to claims and interests of which they have had notice. Churches Solicitors, 12 High Street, Fareham, Hampshire, PO16 7BL, UK. Ref:- 'T553015.'

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