There is a myth that unmarried folk will inherit exactly the same as those married.

If you believe that you are a “Common-law spouse“ then stop believing it as there is no such thing.

Married people have rights to inherit. Unmarried people do not have such rights.

Unfortunately, if you are in an unmarried relationship with someone who dies (or leaves you), the law does not accord you any rights.

Unmarried relationships are on the increase and you might well say that the way to deal with that is to increase the rights of unmarried people so they are just the same as married people.

That might happen but there is no indication that that is going to happen any time soon. The way to deal with this is to plan. You need to make out a will if you hope to inherit.

If you are unmarried, the law sees you as a stranger to your partner and there is nothing automatic about inheriting.

Unlike someone who is married, you have to go to court and make a claim.

If you are successful in such a claim you will not inherit the same as if you were married. The law may well give you a lot less and, indeed, a lot less could be nothing at all.

Do remember that you will have raised an action using solicitors who cost  a lot of money and, even if you lose, you still have to pay them.

They say that the loss of somebody close brings out the best and worst in people. The law sets out that relatives inherit and, unless steps have been taken to avoid it, that may well happen.

Don’t expect the relatives to give you (or your children) anything. They may well take what they are entitled to under the law.

If there is a Will which leaves the assets built up to you then (and only then) is it automatic. There are small exceptions for relatives but it is they who will have to claim, not you!

It is possible to make a Will without even seeing a solicitor. A Solicitor has designed an online version that is effective and has been made by many thousands of people over the years. According to the BBC, it only takes 10 minutes to make a Will with them.

Happily, it is also much cheaper than going to see a lawyer.

You do not, even, need to leave home to make it. According to the BBC it only takes 10 minutes to make such a will.

You print it off and sign it – the signing is all explained.

Even better, you make the Will but pay nothing until you are quite satisfied.

So both of you should make a Will now!

Bruce de Wert, Managing Director and Solicitor