If you are not married you do not automatically inherit your partner’s Estate if they die without having made a Will. However, if you have lived with your partner for two years or more and can show you were wholly or partially financially dependent on them, you can expect reasonable financial provision from their Estate for your maintenance. The extent of the financial provision depends on a number of factors including the needs of other beneficiaries.
If your partner dies without having made a Will his Estate will pass to his blood family under the Intestacy Rules. You can try and reach an agreement with those beneficiaries as to how the Estate should be divided so as to make proper provision for you. Mediation can be a successful way of achieving a settlement but it is advisable to take legal advice first, so you have an idea of the amount you might be entitled to.
Making a Claim
If an agreement cannot be made through negotiation or mediation you can make a claim against the Estate under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, providing you were living with your partner for the two years immediately preceding their death. Even if you were not together for a full two years it may still be possible to bring a claim if you can prove financial dependency. If, in fact, your partner left a Will but did not make adequate financial provision for you, you can also make a claim under the Act. Any claims must be issued by a court within 6 months of the Grant of Probate/Administration.
What should I do next?
Because of the time limits for bringing a claim it is very important that you contact a solicitor as soon as possible to ensure you are fully aware of your entitlement. Although in some cases a court might allow you to issue a claim after the 6 month period, you cannot be certain that permission will be granted.
Get in contact with our probate solicitors in Bristol to talk through your options by calling 0117 962 1205.