It is more common today more than ever, that couples are choosing not to divorce after separating. This is often down to financial factors involved, as well as a lack of legal necessity. Divorce can cost thousands even in a civil divorce. Additionally, it can cost even more in difficult matters. These cases often include aspects like a house and spousal maintenance.
Therefore, many couples decide to go their separate ways. Divorce can become an option only in the instance of a remarriage. This may seem like an easy option. However, it could have a huge impact on your loved ones after you die.
Unfortunately, sometimes the deceased’s separated partner are set to inherit their entire estate. Even when they haven’t been with or seen them in years. We see cases like this daily working within this sector.
This happens when a Will hasn’t been written up. According to the Law of Intestacy, the estate will automatically go to the deceased’s spouse. This is regardless of separation as a divorce has not been finalised.
What does the law state?
The Citizens Advice Bureau state:
“Married partners or civil partners inherit under the rules of intestacy only if they are actually married or in a civil partnership at the time of death. So, if you are divorced or if your civil partnership has been legally ended, you can’t inherit under the rules of intestacy. Partners who separated informally can still inherit under the rules of intestacy. Cohabiting partners (sometimes wrongly called ‘common-law’ partners) who were neither married nor in a civil partnership can’t inherit under the rules of intestacy.”
Children vs the Spouse
Imagine you have children, get married, yet later separate without a divorce. In the event of your death, your estate will go to your spouse. Not your children.
Therefore, it is important to write up a Will. Although many people do not think it’s necessary until the later years of their life. Every parent wants to know their children will be secure in the event of a tragedy. Hence why a Will is key.
This could have a huge impact on the rest of your children’s life. For instance, there is the financial weight as money is inherited by someone else. Additionally, there may be belongings which they may have had strong sentimental value to them as children. Someone else inheriting these items could have an emotional impact as it is out of their control.
In conclusion, we highly recommend legally divorcing from your partner as opposed to just separating. We encounter too many cases where the child of an Intestate is left heartbroken as their parent’s ex-spouse inherits the entirety of their parent’s estate. Even though they are still legally regarded as a spouse. Please consider the huge impact this could have on your children’s life; financially and economically.