Proposed Amendments to Inheritance Laws
The Law Commission has this week proposed major amendments to Inheritance Laws.
Research has shown that there is little awareness of the implications for cohabitants if their loved one passes away. Many people believe that they hold rights similar to those of a spouse, but actually they would have to go through a lengthy legal process in order to make their claim for the deceased’s estate.
The Law Commission – a government funded, statutory independent body which keeps the law under review and recommends reform as and when needed – has recommended that the current system be updated. Dating back to 1925, the current legislation is a complex set of rules that cause much emotional and financial distress.
The changes would mean that cohabitants who have lived together for five or more years, or who have a child together, should have the same rights as spouses. The report will be under review until February 28 2010.
One rather unromantic critic of the proposed amendments has asked indignantly, “What is the point of getting married if there is virtually no statutory difference in just cohabiting?”. I’d like to think that the statutory advantages of getting married aren’t at the top of the list of reasons to commit to wedlock...