Intestacy is the condition of dying without having executed any estate planning documents. If you were to die intestate your resources would be distributed to your closest relatives in accordance with intestacy laws of succession.
Because of this it is very important to state your wishes in writing in a legally binding manner if you are in a long-term committed relationship. Even though the connection that you share with your partner may be self-evident the law does not recognize the relationship and your partner could pay the price if you do not plan ahead appropriately.
This is something that happened to the longtime partner of the author who wrote the popular crime novel The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Stieg Larsson was a relatively young man when he died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 50. Apparently he felt as though he was quite healthy and that there was no urgency with regard to executing an estate plan.
His closest relatives were his father and his brother, and under Swedish intestacy laws they were awarded ownership of his estate. The woman that Larsson lived with for many years received nothing.
In this case the couple chose not to get married out of security concerns because their address would become public under Swedish laws if they were to marry.
This is a rather unusual reason to refrain from tying the knot but many people do so for other reasons. If you are one of them, you must be proactive about executing the appropriate estate planning documents to ensure the well-being of your partner.