Contesting a will – unmarried couples
When someone dies without making a will this is known as dying “intestate” and their estate will be distributed according to the Intestacy Rules.
These Rules don’t make any provision for surviving partners who were either unmarried or did not have a civil partnership at the date of their partner’s death.
However, some cohabiting partners may be able to bring a claim against their partner’s estate for ‘reasonable financial provision’ under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 (Inheritance Act).
Grounds for bringing an Inheritance Act claim for unmarried couples
If a person died after 1 January 1996, their surviving partner can usually bring an Inheritance Act claim against their estate provided that, during the whole of the two year period immediately prior to the death, the surviving partner was living:
(a) in the same household as the deceased, and
(b) as the husband, wife or civil partner of the deceased.
Deadline for Inheritance Act claims
Claims under the Inheritance Act must usually be brought within 6 months after the date of the grant or probate. It’s therefore important that anyone who is considering bringing an Inheritance Act claim obtains specialist legal advice as soon as possible.
Our dedicated team of solicitors can advise about both bringing and defending claims under the 1975 Inheritance Act.
We offer an initial free telephone consultation (limited to 30 minutes).
The High Court has granted permission to bring a claim under the Inheritance Act – despite it being issued more than 25 years after the deadline.