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My long-term partner has died without a will. Where does that leave me?

Kelly Gilbert | What to do if your partner has died without a will

This is a question we get asked a lot. Unfortunately, under the rules of intestacy cohabiting couples have no automatic right to inherit anything from the other’s estate.

Contentious Probate Associate Kelly Gilbert explains the intestacy rules and what you can do if your partner has died without a will.

The law governing intestacy

Where an individual passes away without leaving a will, they are known as dying ‘intestate’. This means that the law (specifically section 46 of the Administration of Estates Act 1925) will dictate how that person’s estate is distributed.

Given the year the Act was made, it will perhaps not surprise you to note that it does not provide for modern family set-ups.

For example, as above a cohabiting partner of the deceased would not receive anything under the current rules and nor would step-children or their descendants. Yet despite this, a staggering 50% of adults in the UK don’t have a will.

What are the intestacy rules in the UK?

Put simply, the husband, wife or civil partner of the deceased will receive a statutory gift up to a value of £322,000, personal possessions and then 50% of the remaining estate.

If the deceased had no children, the spouse would receive the whole estate (subject to relevant taxes being paid if applicable).

If the deceased had no spouse and no children, the estate would pass to the surviving parent(s). If there are no surviving parents, it would go to their siblings. If there are no siblings, it would pass to aunts and uncles or their children.

Is there anything a cohabiting partner can do to receive some inheritance?

If you and your partner lived together for two years or more, you may be able to make an application to the court to claim from their estate. This is not a straightforward process and there are numerous factors that must be considered before such an application can be made.

What can we do to help?

If your partner has died without a will and you are considering making such an application, we can help.

Contact Contentious Probate Associate Kelly Gilbert on 07547 105 035 or ku.oc1708886443.fcl@1708886443trebl1708886443igk1708886443, or Contentious Probate Partner Ragan Montgomery on 07538 831 242 or ku.oc1708886443.fcl@1708886443yremo1708886443gtnom1708886443r1708886443, and they will be able to assist.

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