The recently enacted Civil Partnership Act defines a cohabitant as “one of two adults, whether of the same or the opposite sex who live together as a couple in an intimate and committed relationship and who are not related to each other within the prohibited degrees of relationship or married to each other or civil partners of each other”. Part 15 of the Act provides redress for qualified cohabitants in certain circumstances but economic dependency is necessary to qualify.
If you are a surviving cohabitant then an application for provision must be made within 6 months of the date of a Grant of Probate or Administration issuing and notice of the application must be given to the personal representatives and any spouse or civil partners.
The cohabitant can receive up to a one half share of the estate where there are no children surviving and 1/3rd where there are children (this is where a will has been made). If there is no will then the cohabiting partner can receive up to 2/3rd of the estate where there are surviving issue and the entire estate where there are no issue.
As you can see, it is a complicated area and if any cohabitants are living together, whether same sex or otherwise, if they have any doubts whatsoever about their entitlements, they should seek legal advice. The consequences are obviously extremely serious.