Many couples make a decision not to marry or to enter into a civil partnership. They simply live together as co-habitees. Sometimes as co-habitees they have several children together.
However, despite having children together, and perhaps owning property, many cohabiting couples fail to make any arrangements whatsoever to regulate their relationship. They wrongly assume that the law will look after them if things go wrong. If one dies they often wrongly assume their partner will receive everything.
The survivor is not the next of kin and without a will, may not in fact be able to stay in the house, look after the children, continue to receive the deceased’s pension, or receive any benefits from the deceased partners estate at all. It can all turn into a horrendous mess for the one left behind.
If they separate then property, finances and children issues can be very complex indeed.