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  • Writer's pictureAdrian Berkeley

"Of course I will be OK, we were Common Law cohabitees, won't I?"

Who knew? It does not matter how long you have lived as a couple, even if you have children, non-married couples get a raw deal under the English Legal System when their relationship ends.

Don’t be fighting for “justice” after death, take FREE advice now from LawFriend, contact Adrian 07970 291197.

Commonly, the problems arise because the deceased did not leave a will. Without one, the Laws of Intestacy automatically apply.

Under these rules, an unmarried partner is not entitled to receive anything. Nothing at all, even if there are children!

The estate instead passes to the deceased’s children or other relatives. It is not unusual to see only the Queen benefiting FROM YOUR SAVINGS AND FAMILY HOME!

Unfortunately, “pub talk” will wrongly convince you that they are common-law spouses because they have lived together for a long period of time. But the concept of a common law spouse does not exist in English law, except in some very specific and unusual circumstances.

The bottom line is that if you are not married, you have less legal protection if your relationship ends through the death of one partner.

A recent High Court case has thrown the spotlight on claims brought by cohabitees. Though even this only actually re-stated existing Laws rather than extending provisions for a cohabitee.

In Thompson v Raggott, the High Court ruled in favour of Joan Thompson’s claim for reasonable financial provision out of the estate of her late partner, Wynford Hodge. Mr Hodge, worth £1.5 million, left nothing for Mrs Thompson or her four children, although she had been financially dependent on her late partner and had lived with him for approximately 42 years.

The court decided to provide an outright transfer of the property to Mrs Thompson. They could alternatively have provided for her with a lifetime interest Trust?

Probably, Mrs Thompson would have received significantly more financial provision had they been married.

Claims under Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 are a complex area of family law and it is important you seek specialist advice if you think you have any type of claim over an estate.

You are effectively saying to your spouse “so long, it was good whilst it lasted but I’m no longer interested in what happens after I die” should you fail to make a will.

It is really easy, just contact Adrian 07970 291197 and put your future on firmer grounding.

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