Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney for Civil Partnered and Unmarried Couples
- AuthorCherrie Powell
As we celebrate the inaugural Pride Caerffili on 24 June, here’s some expert advice on Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney for civil partnered and cohabiting couples.
Many couples (whether in a mixed-sex or same-sex relationship) are not married or in a civil partnership. This can have a drastic effect when one partner dies, as currently in England and Wales, there is no legal recognition or protection for cohabiting partners.
If you are unmarried or have not entered into a civil partnership and you die without making a Will, then your estate will be dealt with under the Rules of Intestacy. These rules are strictly applied and dictate who will inherit your estate. Unmarried partners are not recognised as those entitled to inherit when applying the Rules of Intestacy and this could mean that your partner would receive nothing unless they apply to challenge the estate. This can be a costly and upsetting exercise, especially at a time when your partner is already grieving. Jointly owned assets do not usually fall within this definition as they pass automatically to the surviving co-owner.
By making a Will, you decide who will deal with your estate after your death and who will inherit your assets. You choose exactly how you’d like your assets divided. This can save a lot of heartache and costs to the people who matter to you most.
Lasting Powers of Attorney
Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) are legal documents which allow you to appoint one or more people – known as ‘attorneys’ – to make decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated.
Many married couples or those in a civil partnership automatically assume that their civil partner or spouse will have a right to deal with their financial affairs and make decisions about their health and welfare. Sadly, this is not true, and many people discover this when it is too late.
Creating an LPA while you are fit and well allows you to choose who can act for you and make those decisions. Having an LPA in place does not mean losing control, as attorneys have an obligation to discuss all decisions with you whilst you still have mental capacity.
You might not ever need to use it, but by appointing an LPA, you have peace of mind that it is there should this ever be needed.