Q. My partner has recently passed away, we were not married and he did not leave a will. Will his estate pass to me?
A. If you die without having made a will, your estate passes under the rules of Intestacy. These rules set out a statutory prescribed order of who benefits under these circumstances. This order does not include unmarried partners.
There is legislation in place (Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975) that enables certain categories of people to make a claim against a deceased’s estate if they have not been adequately provided for.
If you were living with your partner for at least 2 years up until the date of death it may be possible for you to make a claim. I would advise that you seek some independent legal advice as there may be other less costly practical solutions depending upon your situation. For example, it may be easier to make a deed of variation which is essentially writing a will retrospectively to redistribute the estate. This would need the agreement of the beneficiaries entitled under the intestacy rules.
At TLS Solicitors, we encourage everyone to take advice about making a will to ensure that your estate will go where you want it to go. Many people assume that the law will recognise a ‘common law spouse’ but it does not. The cost of a will is nothing compared to the cost of having to make a claim against an estate because no will has been made. Factoring in your partners grief and potential frayed family relations depending upon your circumstances it makes sense to consider this now and be in control of your final wishes.
If you would like a chat about making a will please feel free to contact me for a free 30-minute consultation.