“My partner has died and their Will fails to provide for me. Can I claim against my partner’s estate or contest their Will?”
This is a question we are commonly asked. Because unmarried couples do not enjoy the same legal protection as married couples, there is a great deal of uncertainty about their inheritance rights.
People often wrongly assume that a ‘common law wife’ or a ‘common law husband’ has an automatic entitlement to inherit. However, the idea of the ‘common law spouse’ is legal myth. Quite simply, if your partner dies without making provision for you in their Will, then you have no automatic right to receive an inheritance from their estate.
And if they pass away without leaving a Will, then as their unmarried partner you have no entitlement to a share of their estate under the intestacy rules.
This can cause tremendous hardship for the surviving partner and it has led to calls for greater legal protection to be introduced by amending the intestacy rules.
So can I make an inheritance claim?
Yes. Unmarried partners are entitled to make an inheritance claim against their late partner’s estate if their Will or the intestacy rules fail to make adequate financial provision for them.
Claims by cohabitees can be made under the Inheritance Act where the claimant had been cohabiting for at least 2 years prior to their partner’s death, as husband and wife in the same household. You can read about a cohabitee who recovered £160,000 from her late partner’s estate in a real life case study of a claim we have previously dealt with.
Claims can also be made by a surviving partner if they were being financially supported by the deceased at the time of their death, irrespective of how long they had been living together.
Free legal helpline
If you are wondering, ‘Can I claim against my partner’s estate or contest their Will?’ then call our free legal helpline on 0808 139 1606 for a free case assessment and details of No Win, No Fee funding.
We will assess whether you are eligible to make an Inheritance Act claim and confirm whether this can be done on a Non Win, No Fee basis.
We specialise in dealing with inheritance claims involving unmarried couples and operate on a nationwide basis across England and Wales.
Call 0808 139 1606 or send brief details of your claim to us at [email protected]