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Can an unmarried partner contest the rules of intestacy?

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  • Can an unmarried partner contest the rules of intestacy?

    A few months ago my mother-in-law (M) passed away and as she died without a valid Will her estate was left to her two daughters (Dís) under the rules of intestacy.
    Dís are aware that M prepared two home-made Wills: one 10 years ago when M was in good health leaving the entire estate to them and second Will more recently, just before an Alzheimerís diagnosis, leaving the estate to them and Mís on-off partner (P) of 20 years. The first Will has disappeared and the latest Will was declared invalid as it does not have any witness signatures.
    Dís have not spoken to P for many years, but they have heard from another family member that he is anticipating receiving something from the Will as he said he had been told by M that she would include him.
    There are a couple of questions that I would like to ask: Firstly, although P didnít live with M or rely on her financially, would he have any legal claim against the estate especially as he is mentioned in the invalid Will which is held by our solicitor? Secondly, if Dís offer P a gift from their inheritance might it strengthen his case if he did decide to make a claim through the court at a later stage?
    I would be really grateful to hear any thoughts on the above from a legal perspective.

    M and P were never married or in a civil partnership.

    I have been reading this forum for a while and find it and excellent resource. I would be really grateful to hear any thoughts on the above questions from a legal perspective.



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  • #2

    Condolences on your recent loss.

    As P was neither married to, nor in a civil partnership with your late Mil, nor was he living with her, nor supported by her, he would not be entitled to make a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.
    He does not come into any of the classes of persons entitled to claim (see sec1 https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1975/63)

    An invalid will is just that...invalid and has no legal merit, so if the daughters offer him something my advice would be to accept it gratefully, unless it was insultingly small in which case I would gracefully decline and retain my fond memories.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by des8 View Post

      Condolences on your recent loss.

      As P was neither married to, nor in a civil partnership with your late Mil, nor was he living with her, nor supported by her, he would not be entitled to make a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.
      He does not come into any of the classes of persons entitled to claim (see sec1 https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1975/63)

      An invalid will is just that...invalid and has no legal merit, so if the daughters offer him something my advice would be to accept it gratefully, unless it was insultingly small in which case I would gracefully decline and retain my fond memories.
      Many thanks for the helpful response. Even though the Will was invalid could the fact that he was mentioned in it be some how regarded as a 'promise' that we might need to take into account?

      Comment


      • #4
        Most unusual that any claim would be accepted by the court,
        Have a read of this blog: https://anthonygold.co.uk/latest/blo...unsigned-will/

        Comment


        • #5
          Hi, I should have mentioned in my previous post that if Mil's partner believes he has been included in her Will, although it is invalid and has no legal standing, could he claim under Promisorry Estoppel?

          Comment


          • #6
            From the little of the circumstances you have mentioned it would seem he could not make that claim successfully.

            To establish an obligation to make a disposition in a will, he would need to prove there had been an express promise and that he had relied on that promise to his substantial detriment.
            the existence of a bequest in an invalid will does not demonstrate an obligation to make that bequest.

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks a lot for your really helpful responses.

              Comment


              • #8
                Just a further question on the subject of Promissory Estoppel please. Mil and partner used to have an arrangement where she would clean for him at the weekend and he would do her weekly shopping in return. In this instance could he have a claim that the time he gave up to do this was to his substantial detriment (and that he was relying on the money he thought was promised in the Will to help fund his retirement), or would the fact that it was a reciprocal arrangement and an accepted part of their relationship cancel this possible approach?

                Comment


                • #9
                  IMO any such claim would receive short shrift from the court

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                  • #10
                    Thanks once again. Much appreciated.

                    Comment

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