Importance of Financial Protection for Co-Habiting Couples in Case of Bereavement

A young mum of 34 was left in dire financial straights when her partner and the father of her three children died of cancer.  With the loss of her late partner’s substantial £60,000 salary and as they were unmarried, she was unable to claim thousands of pounds in government support.

Greer Woolley, a Wills Trust and Probate specialist at award winning law firm Pictons says “Married partners of people who die are able to claim three separate payments on their passing, paid for from the late partner’s National Insurance contributions. They include a bereavement support payment, a widowed parent’s allowance and a bereavement allowance.

“In the face of a sudden and dramatic loss of family income, these payments are essential for widows or widowers who are left to bring up the children. It can also pay for funeral and other costs. Sometimes the partner who is left also needs to take time off work.”

A study has suggested that co-habiting but unmarried couples may be missing out on as much as £82million a year, with £15million in bereavement payments, £11million in bereavement allowance and £56million a year in widowed parent’s allowance.

Greer continues “Figures state that there are approximately six million people in co habiting relationships in the UK, preferring not to get married. While life insurance is a good option, it is always essential for couples, and especially those with children, to make financial arrangements in case one of them should die unexpectedly. There is absolutely no such thing as a ‘common law’ marriage, a frequent misconception for couples who live together.

‘Partners should always have wills and a Lasting Power of Attorney drawn up for the main breadwinner in case of unexpected accidents or tragedies. As a cohabiting couple you can’t even inherit your deceased partner’s pension. I think the laws around these issues need to be reviewed because such a large number of couples who have families choose not to marry, but until the law changes it is essential for co-habiting couples to get legal advice on how to protect themselves and their families in the future should the worst happen.”

If you need to make a Will or Lasting Power of Attorney then contact Greer Woolley or one of her team on 01582 870870 to reach our Luton, Milton Keynes and Tring offices or email