High Court Rules that female cohabitee is entitled to share of deceased partner’s estate

Solicitor Gemma Nolan comments on a recent landmark ruling where the High Court has found in favour of a 79 year old woman, after her partner of 42 years left her out of his will.

Ms Thompson had lived with her partner, Mr Hodge, for 42 years and had been financially dependent upon him during his lifetime. His estate was estimated to be worth in the region of £1.5 million which he had left to tenants and friends.

His Honour Judge Jarman QC of the High Court ruled in favour of Ms Thompson who was granted a property worth £225,000 plus £28,845 to carry out renovations  and a further £160,000 for her future maintenance.

According to Mr Hodge’s letters of wishes, he did not include Ms Thompson in his will because he did not want her four children to benefit from it. Reason for this being that he had no contact with them and that they had previously taken advantage of him financially.

The Judge said that “whilst the wishes of Mr Hodge that Ms Thompson’s family should not benefit from any provision for her should be given appropriate weight, those wishes should not hinder the reasonable provision for her maintenance. That is the mistake that he made in his letters of wishes which led to no provision at all being made.”

The implications for cohabitees is wide reaching and, whilst they currently have no statutory rights to a partner’s estate, this case shows the Court’s willingness to secure financial provision for cohabitees that reflects their contribution.

However, whilst this is good news for cohabitees, what is ‘reasonable provision’ is open to interpretation and each case considered on its facts. Ms Thompson had been with her partner and his dependent for 42 years which is why the Judge considered it reasonable in this instance to provide for her maintenance.

If you have any concerns as to whether a will is valid or that the distribution of an estate is not being managed correctly, please contact Gemma on 023 9282 0747.

May 2018.

 

High Court Rules that female cohabitee is entitled to share of deceased partner’s estate

May 2018

Solicitor Gemma Nolan comments on a recent landmark ruling where the High Court has found in favour of a 79 year old woman, after her partner of 42 years left her out of his will.

More Info

Online tax appeals for the digital age

May 2018

A new digital service is allowing people to submit appeals over their tax bill entirely online.

More Info

Are you ready for GDPR?

May 2018

Are you ready for the introduction of the new European General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR)? If not, you only have a little time to prepare, as the new rules come into force on the 25th May 2018.

More Info

Your rights do not depend upon your knowledge of them

April 2018

A recent ruling from the Court of Appeal has underlined the fact that a United Kingdom citizen’s rights do not depend upon their knowledge of them. Partner Andrew Bryan said, “This is a relatively simple case but it has profound and positive implications for the protection of UK citizens by the courts”.

More Info

We’re proud to be associated with

  • The Law Society, Conveyancing Quality Accredited logo
  • The Law Society, Children Law Accredited logo
  • The Law Society, Criminal Litigation Accredited logo
  • The Law Society, Family Law Accredited logo
  • The Law Society, Family Law Advanced Accredited logo
  • The Law Society, Lexcel Accredited logo
  • Solicitors For The Elderly Accredited logo
  • Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners logo
  • Dementia Friends logo
  • Resolution logo