If you are currently living together in Scotland with your partner but you’re not married or in a civil partnership, you might want to get your wills arranged sooner than later.
“Co-habitants” is the officious-sounding term given to people who live together in Scotland, but who are not married or are registered civil partners.
There’s no such thing as “common law marriage” in Scotland. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been living together in Scotland with your partner for a long time, Scottish law doesn’t give you the same rights as married people or those in a registered civil partnership.
If you’re a co-habitant and you die without making a Will, your partner won’t be entitled to anything – even the right to keep living in the property, if you are the sole owner of it.
The only thing your partner could do in that circumstance would be to go to court within six months of your death to ask for a “financial provision” from your estate. In practice this means raising a court action against your partner’s family, with all the distress and legal costs that come with it.
If you’re married or in a civil partnership you also need to make a Will. If you die without making one, the law decides who-gets-what. You might think it’ll all go to plan, but what happens if a child from a previous relationship stakes a claim on your estate?
The law is always seen as an old fashioned and outdated system created by people who are out-of-touch with reality, but there’s a clear and present danger if you assume everything will sort itself in the long run. Don’t leave anything to chance while you have the ability to control it so easily.
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