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November 9, 2009

Plans to give millions of cohabiting couples better inheritance rights are being criticised by lawyers, the BBC has learned.

The Law Commission for England and Wales wants unmarried partners to be able to inherit each other’s wealth, even if they haven’t written a will.

But some lawyers argue unmarried people may prefer that their wealth to go to parents or siblings, not their partner.

The Law Commission insists public opinion clearly supports change.

Marilyn Stowe, partner at a family law firm in Harrogate, is among lawyers who believe the proposals are a mistake.

“There is a fundamental difference between people who are married and not married,” she said.

Ms Stowe questioned whether everyone who is not married would really like their partners to inherit everything.

“You might want to leave it to your parents, other members of the family, or friends,” she said.


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