Can I claim against my partner’s estate if we weren’t married?

1st August 2019

Dealing with the loss of a partner is difficult enough without worrying about financial pressures. If you have recently lost a loved one and are not provided for, there may be something you can do.

Is there a will?

It may be that your partner died with a will but you were not provided for or not provided for sufficiently. If your partner did not have a will, as you are not married then you may not be provided for at all under the intestacy rules.

Is there anything I can do?

Yes – the law allows you to make a claim if a will or the intestacy rules fail to make reasonable financial provision for you. You must bring the claim within six months of the grant of representation or probate.

In order to apply as a cohabitee, you must have lived with the deceased for at least two full years ending on their death, as though you were a married couple.

As a partner of the deceased, you will be entitled to ‘such financial provision as it would be reasonable in all the circumstances of the case for the applicant to receive for his/her maintenance’.

The court will consider, among other factors:

• Your financial resources/needs and those of the beneficiaries in the will (if there is one) both now and for the future
• The deceased’s obligations towards you
• The size and nature of the estate
• Any physical/mental disabilities you may have
• Your age
• How long you lived together as if you were a married couple;
• What contribution you made to the shared home and family lifestyle.


What is my next step?

If you have not been provided for upon a loved one’s death and believe that you have a potential claim against their estate, start gathering together evidence for this. We are ready to help you to take your claim forward and can advise on your specific circumstances.

If you would like to discuss your options, please contact Beth King-Smith, partner and Head of Disputed Wills, Trusts and Estates, on 01905 744 842 or at [email protected].

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