My partner has died without a Will. His children are insisting that I move out of our home so they can sell it. What should I do?
Hello, I'm Matthew Morton. And I'm Emma Collins and we are solicitors in the private client team at Weightmans.
Think before vacating the property
The best advice in any dispute involving cohabitants is to ensure that you remain living in the property. While you remain in a property, you remain in control and it makes sure that you have somewhere to live while the dispute is ongoing. The next advice is to seek legal advice as soon as possible.
Do you have a claim to the assets?
If you've been excluded from the Will, you may be able to make an application under the Inheritance Act for additional provision. A number of people can make claims; in your case it would be as a cohabitant or as a dependent. A cohabitant has to have lived with the deceased for two years immediately before the death, a dependent doesn't. A cohabitant, however, generally has better provision made for them than a dependent.
Claims should be commenced quickly
Once you've established that you have a claim, you must act quickly. Claims under the Inheritance Act must be commenced within six months of the grants of probate being obtained.
Gather your evidence
The application process will involve gathering the appropriate evidence. We will need to establish your needs with income and expenditure schedules.
We will also need to gather the evidence that's relevant to the court to consider when balancing your needs against those of the beneficiaries. That will include evidence of the length of the cohabitation, details about the estate and the nature of the estate, the beneficiaries needs as well as your needs, any health concerns and other considerations.
What to expect from the court process
Once you've established that you have a claim under the Inheritance Act and the claim is within the limitation period, it is important to gather financial information so you can demonstrate your needs to the court.
The court would need to see bank statements, utility bills and other documents that explain to them the provision that should be made available to meet your needs.