At present, the intestacy rules do not recognise co-habitees who are unmarried and not in a Civil Partnership. Therefore, if you live with your partner and die without having made a Will, your partner will not automatically inherit any of your estate. Your partner will have to make a claim on the estate claiming financial dependence if appropriate. If you have children with your partner or from previous relationships, then those children and your partner will have to get separate legal representation in order to fight for a share in the estate. This can be distressing and expensive and is a situation that should be avoided.
The Intestacy rules do not recognise step-children and make no provision for the appointment of executors, guardians or making gifts to extended family, friends or charities.
There are also cost implications, as tracing all possible beneficiaries can substantially add to the fees that are incurred.
A simple Will is all that is needed to ensure that your wishes are provided for.