Couples living together but not married or in a civil partnership have been urged to make a will, rather than risk leaving their surviving partner penniless.
An estimated one in six UK couples cohabit without having their relationship legally formalised, which may lead to complications when new changes governing intestacy in England and Wales come into effect as of February 1st, 2009, the BBC reports.
Regarding unmarried couples where one partner has died without making a Will, Penny Bates, will specialist, tells the news source: "If […] the couple have children then the estate of the deceased partner passes to the children at age 18.
"If there are no children then the estate passes to the parents, siblings and other remoter relatives in a specified order […] these rules mean that if you die intestate there will be no provision made for your surviving life partner."
Conversely, surviving partners of a marriage or civil partnership are provided for if no will exists, with the amount paid out set to rise from £125,000 to £250,000 from February 1st next year.