Live-in lovers in the West Midlands are being urged to look after their partners by making a will.
The warning comes from law firm Manby Steward Bowdler after a former dental nurse had to fight her long-term lover’s family in the High Court to get her dues.
Partner Andrew Vernon said: "Many people never get round to making a will or leave them unchanged. Heartache and trauma are the result for loved ones left behind."
He cited the case of Cyd Negus, who led a lavish lifestyle with multimillionaire businessman Henry Bahouse after they met in 1995. He committed suicide in 2005 before fulfilling his promise to marry her on the Queen Mary 2 cruiseliner and to provide for her.
The couple frequented top casinos and clubs in London, including the Claremont, Crockford and the Ritz, and spent thousands on holidays and cruises to the Middle East and the Caribbean.
But Mr Bahouse had not updated his will and Ms Negus had to take his son and first wife to court, where deputy High Court Judge Roger Kaye said Ms Negus had became "a housewife in all but name".
Mr Vernon said: "Ms Negus had no choice but to take legal action. As a result she was awarded more than £1 million of the £3 million estate going to Mr Bahouse’s family.
"All this stress, heartache, time and money could have been avoided if Mr Bahouse had updated his will. If people don’t make a will their estate will be split according to the law and perhaps money and assets squandered by unscrupulous family members. Depending on the size of the estate the taxman may also benefit. I would strongly advise people to make or update their will. It does not take very long and may avoid family disputes at a difficult time."