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BRITISH LIVE-IN COUPLES HAVE RIGHT TO INHERIT FROM EACH ANOTHER


LONDON, U.K. - A reform was enacted in UK for Live-in couples to have the right to inherit from each another if one dies without making a will, said government legal advisers on Tuesday.
This reform would hand nearly five million people the prospect of rights over each others property similar to those enjoyed by married couples.
Critics accused the state-run body that produced the plan, the Law Commission, of trying to bring in a cohabitation law through the back door. Under the proposals, live-in partners would have inheritance rights after living together for five years. Those with children would benefit after just two.
  • The Commission said it "reflects the growing prevalence and public acceptance of cohabitation".
  • Four years ago it produced a scheme for a law to give full legal rights to cohabiting partners. But the idea, backed by many lawyers and some judges, was dismissed by Justice Secretary Ken Clarke this autumn.
  • The new cohabitation inheritance scheme comes in a paper on reform of the law covering wills and those who die without making one. The report said that when one partner of an unmarried couple dies without a will, at present the survivor can inherit, but only by going to court, no matter how long they lived together and even if they had children together.
  • The Commission said its plan preserved the status of marriage because, while married couples benefit immediately from the law, cohabitees would have to have been together for five years, or two if they had a child. There are thought to be 2.3 million unmarried live-in couples in Britain and lawyers who want a cohabitation law claim that many do not know they have few legal safeguards and that "common law marriage" is no more than a myth.
The Ministry of Justice said: "It is already possible for cohabiting couples to draft wills and enter into cohabitation agreements to protect their property rights," a spokesman said.
"We recognise that not all couples wish to either marry or enter into a civil partnership, however they have the option to do so if they wish to gain legal recognition of their relationship."
Source: Daily Mail
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