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What am I entitled to if my partner dies without a Will?

View profile for Laura Anderson
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If a person dies without a Will, what happens to their estate (ie assets, such as property and cash) will be governed by the Intestacy Rules. Who is entitled to what will depend on their relationship with the deceased.

A spouse or civil partner will automatically inherit, as will children if the estate is large enough. However, cohabitants are not instantly entitled to a share of their late partner’s estate, regardless of the duration of the relationship. This could mean that a cohabitant living in their deceased partner’s home, and reliant on them financially, is left in a very vulnerable position.

Help is at hand however, in the form of the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 (the IA). So long as they were cohabiting in the same household, as if they were married/civil partners, for the two years before death, a cohabitant will be entitled to bring a claim for reasonable financial provision for their maintenance.

What factors will affect my claim?

For a claim under the IA to be successful, a claimant will need to show that the application of the Intestacy Rules means that reasonable provision has not been made for them in all of the circumstances of their case. In deciding whether it has been, the court will take the following into account:

  • The financial resources and needs (current and reasonably foreseeable) of the applicant, those entitled under the Intestacy Rules, and any other applicant
  • The size and nature of the deceased’s estate
  • The deceased’s obligations and responsibilities towards any applicant/anyone entitled under the Intestacy Rules
  • Any physical or mental disability
  • Any other matter/conduct which the court may consider relevant

What can be done to avoid a claim?

The difficulties that cohabitants can face when their partner dies demonstrates the importance of making a will. To talk through your needs, speak to one of our friendly Wills and Probate Team today.

What should I do if I think I may have a claim?

There are strict time limits for bringing a claim: proceedings need to be issued within 6 months of a Grant of Probate being taken out. In reality, this is not long, and a surviving partner should seek advice on their circumstances sooner rather than later. To discuss your situation, contact our approachable Dispute Resolution Team today.

How Can We Help?

At Johnson Astills, we offer fixed fee initial consultations, giving a chance to discuss a dispute or situation in more detail and receive preliminary advice and guidance. For further information, or to arrange a fixed fee appointment, please call our Leicester office on 0116 255 4855 or our Loughborough office on 01509 610 312, or fill in our free online enquiry form and one of our friendly team will be in touch.