Law Commission proposes inheritance rights for co-habiting couples

Under the current law, cohabitees who are unmarried and are not in a civil partnership have no automatic rights to inherit their partner’s assets if they die without leaving a will. 

The controversial proposals suggest those who have cohabited for at least five years should have equal rights to those of a spouse and those together for between two and five years should receive half of what a spouse would.

In the new consultation paper Intestacy and Family Provision Claims on Death the Commission says: “Under current law, they may have to go to court to claim reasonable provision from a partner’s estate, which may involve great financial and emotional cost.” 

The consultation closes on February 28 2010.