Cohabiting couples urged to make a Will to protect assets

By Lenore Rice

A woman who almost lost £400,000 of assets she had accumulated with her partner is urging cohabiting couples to make a Will.

Sue Singer, aged 56, says her house and business were saved as a result of makeshift handwritten Will written in a restaurant while on holiday, and is aware that without it she would most probably have lost her home and other assets that were held in the name of her partner, Paul Dixon.

Paul was in the process of drafting a Will after being diagnosed with lung cancer, but died in 2014 before it could be finalised. Ms Singer remembered a hastily written Will her partner had drafted when they were on holiday in Turkey, and she had refused to let him go paragliding without a Will.

The short Will was written on a piece of paper and witnessed by two waiters. Ms Singer had to great efforts to get it made official, including tracking down the two witnesses who had failed to add their details, but has since been able to proceed with probate.

It is especially important for cohabiting couples to write a Will as they are not afforded the same rights as spouses when it comes to dying intestate. It is not uncommon for cohabiting couples to hold certain assets in a single name only, many of whom believe in the myth of a 'common-law spouse' and that everything will just pass on to their partner upon their death.

If you require legal advice in respect of writing a Will or other matters such as drafting a cohabitation agreement, contact Wilson Nesbitt in Belfast or Bangor by calling 0800 840 9293.