Wills are an important part of planning for the future and they are particularly important for unmarried couples. Unlike a surviving husband, wife or civil partner, the cohabitee of a person who dies without having made a will (intestate), has no automatic right to inherit anything under the rules of intestacy.
This is the case even if the couple have lived together for many years, and have had children together.
However, if two people have lived together in the same household as husband and wife, or as civil partners, for a period of 2 years immediately preceding the death of one of them, the surviving partner may apply for financial provision from the estate of the deceased partner. In these circumstances there is no requirement for the cohabitee who is applying for financial provision to have been maintained by their deceased partner immediately before the death, but the extent of their dependence on the deceased partner may be relevant to the exercise of the court’s discretion.