News: Lords debate inheritance in cohabitation bill

newsThe House of Lords has debated key aspects of the Inheritance (Cohabitants) Bill, a private member’s bill which proposes significant changes to the rights of cohabitants if their partner dies.

Speakers in the recent House of Lords debate included Lord Lester of Herne Hill for the Liberal Democrats, who introduced the bill, describing it as closing “…an important gap in the rights and needs of cohabitants and their children. Whereas spouses and civil partners whose partners die intestate are not placed in additional hardship because of the intestacy regime, cohabitants and their children are at risk.”

Meanwhile Baroness Deech was opposed to the legislation, saying that judges already had the discretion to provide for cohabitants in need under the existing law. The bill would be “a shift away from the family”, she argued.

Baroness Kennedy of the Shaws said the issues highlighted by the bill should not be seen as in opposition to marriage: “To argue that this [the bill] is somehow an attack upon marriage is to misunderstand the purposes of this effort to change the law.”

 

Marilyn Stowe

The senior partner at Stowe Family Law, Marilyn Stowe is one of Britain’s best known divorce lawyers with clients throughout the country, in Europe, the Far East and the USA.

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