Case study of successful cohabitee inheritance claim
Case study of a cohabitee inheritance claim made after our client’s partner died without making any financial provision for him. Her family demanded that he vacate their home even though he had nowhere to go to. If you are in the same position call us for a free case assessment and details of no win, no fee funding.
Our client brought his cohabitee inheritance claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. The Inheritance Act allows a cohabitee to bring a claim for financial provision if they are not adequately provided for under their partner’s Will or the intestacy rules.
Our client had lived with his partner for a number of years in her property. Although they never married she financially supported them both. Our client had no income of his own, save for a small amount of benefits.
When she passed away our client was left without a home or financial support. He therefore approached us for legal advice and we made a cohabitee inheritance claim on a No Win, No Fee basis.
His partner’s family defended the claim. There was a significant dispute of fact between the parties. Our client’s claim was based upon a loving relationship which he enjoyed with his late partner, albeit one that became challenging towards the end of her life due to her alcohol addiction.
In contrast, the family alleged that our client was manipulative and controlling and that she wanted him to leave her property. The defendants said our client was no more than a tenant at the property.
This sort of dispute of facts isn’t unusual in inheritance cases, but it can make claims much more difficult to settle out of court.
The defendant suggested that at best, the claimant should receive the right to reside in the property – known as a life interest. This would satisfy his accommodation needs, but he would never have the benefit of owning a property.
It is common for courts to award life interest settlements, but we thought it was inappropriate in this case and advised him to fight on.
Our advice was proved to be correct when at mediation we successfully negotiated a highly advantageous settlement of the cohabitee inheritance claim. The settlement allowed our client to keep the property outright, free of any mortgage. This gave him the right to choose to remain in the property if he wished, or to sell it, buy a smaller property and keep any cash surplus.
The settlement also provided for full payment of our client’s legal costs.