Legal News | 6.05.21
FOR COHABITEES, WHERE THERE ISN’T A WILL, THERE MIGHT STILL BE A WAY…
Despite the rising number of unmarried couples living together, cohabitees currently have no legal right to inherit from their partner’s estate under the intestacy rules. So if you want to provide for your partner after your death, you need to leave a valid Will.
If a cohabitee feels they have not been left sufficient financial provision (either under a Will or on intestacy) they can make a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.
A cohabitee can bring a 1975 Act claim if they:
1. Lived with the deceased for at least 2 years prior to their partner’s death; and
2. Lived together as if they were married/civil partners.
The next test is whether the estate has given the surviving partner reasonable financial provision and, if not, what reasonable financial provision would be in their case. Cohabitees are only entitled to that which is required for their maintenance, although capital has been awarded in some circumstances.
The court will consider numerous factors, including the survivor’s financial needs and resources, medical needs, and any obligation owed by the deceased.
Additional consideration factors include:
1. The age of the cohabitee;
2. The length of the cohabitation; and
3. The contribution the cohabitee made to the welfare of the deceased’s family (not just financial).
What are your options?
Unmarried partners should put in place a Will as soon as they begin to cohabit.
A Cohabitation Agreement and/or a Declaration of Trust could also provide a degree of protection.
To discuss these options further, or enquire about a possible 1975 Act claim, please get in touch with your usual contact at Wansbroughs or email the Private Client team at email@example.com.