Make sure you write a will, cohabitees advised

Couples who are cohabiting rather than married should make sure they write wills in order to ensure inheritance arrangements are clear if one of them dies, Royal London has advised. The financial services firm said 60% of adults do not have a will, including 26% of those aged 55 or older. For those who cohabit, it is important to note that a surviving partner does not automatically inherit the estate or possessions.

The company issued this advice to mark the start of Dying Matters Week. Other tips included talking to family about funeral plans and making arrangements to pay for the funeral. 

Inheritance tax can be a big problem for surviving families and one where the presence - or lack - of a will and marital status are often decisive factors. Earlier this year, comedian Ken Dodd married his long-term partner Anne Jones two days before his death, a move that would, provided his will reflected the situation, enable him to have left his spouse his whole fortune without incurring inheritance tax.