Co-habiting and the Will heartbreak – “I don’t care too much for money, money can’t buy me love”

Co-habiting and the Will heartbreak – “I don’t care too much for money, money can’t buy me love”

The Beatles song Can’t Buy me Love might suggest we will give everything we have for the ones we love but understanding the implications of cohabiting and a Will can be vital in ensuring you, your loved ones and their finances are safe for the future. One of the biggest problems faced in probate comes when there are significant issues over a cohabiting partners entitlement. Particularly if any property is sole owned by the deceased. It’s easy to believe that, having shared a property and life with someone for a significant period of time, the rights of a spouse are assumed by the remaining partner.

However, this is entirely inaccurate and can lead to some desperate situations. This was highlighted in several recent cases where claims against the estate were made and the direction was read differently by presiding judges.

In the first instance a disabled gentleman had been left a small cash award by his partner in her Will but the mainstay of her property and possessions passed to the son by her deceased husband*. The gentleman was eventually granted a life interest, having made a claim against the estate under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, of half of the value of his partner’s property to enable him to find accommodation and make any necessary adaptions.

In the second case an elderly lady was left no financial provision by her deceased partner after 42 years together**. This was due to tensions between himself and her children – his desire for them not to gain financially from his death had resulted in leaving no financial provision to his co-habiter. Having made a claim against the estate, the courts eventually gave her a capital award of the marital property and some money funds to facility upkeep and renovations. This also meant there was a clean break for both parties as any contest on a Will can lead to bad relationships.

Whilst losing a spouse doesn’t mean there would be no contest on a Will, it does leave the remaining spouse less open to the threat of no provision at all. Having a Will drawn up professionally to encompass your inheritance issues, ensuring the financial safety of the loved ones left behind is vitally important to those living together outside of matrimony.

If you are keen to create greater security for your family’s financial future and desire a Will or LPA fit for purpose contact Langham Wills by email at theteam@simplewillsonline.co.uk, via our website www.simplewillsonline.co.uk or call us on 01473 487611

* https://www.step.org/news/ew-disabled-claimant-be-evicted-cohabitants-home-without-capital-award

** https://www.ashfords.co.uk/news-and-events/general/court-favours-cohabitee-with-an-award-of-capital-rather-than-life-interest-in-the-matrimonial-property-thompson-v-ragget-ors-2018-ewch-688-ch

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