Estate disputes after cohabitation

Where unmarried couples die without a will or where on old will made in a previous relationship has not been changed then a death can lead to claims by the surviving partner and by estranged children of earlier relationships.

When one member of a cohabiting couple dies, it can come as an unpleasant surprise to discover that your late partner’s estate doesn’t simply pass to you where there is no will.

Joint assets like property and joint bank accounts will pass by survivorship but if you kept property and bank accounts in your own names then the survivor will get nothing if there is no will.

Even where there is a will it might not provide for a surviving partner either at all or in an inadequate way? This could happen because the will is old and has not been changed to deal with changed circumstances or it could be deliberate.

Whether or not there is a will unmarried partners have a right under the 'Inheritance Act' to seek reasonable financial provision out of the estate of their late partner if they can show either that they were financially dependent and looked after by the deceased or that for two years prior to the death they had lived together in the same household as husband and wife.

There can often be children from an earlier relationship. If they are not provided for then they too can claim under the Act under the Act for reasonable financial provision, even where a will specifically cuts them out of their parent's estate.

"Any former partner or child who feels that they have been unfairly left out or inadequately provided for under a will or intestacy should seek expert help from a qualified solicitor..." says Ray London-Smith partner at RMNJ Solicitors "...we can provide a free initial assessment and have extensive experience of mediating claims for both claimants and estates."

RMNJ are always glad to discuss any questions you have without obligation and at first instance entirely free of charge.

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