Hammersmith Litigation Solicitor Maya Elci considers issues surrounding potential claims by unmarried couples under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.

Many individuals are faced with a situation where they have sadly lost their partners, however, they were not married prior to the date of death and they may not have benefit from the deceased’s estate under the provisions of the Will or the intestacy rules. In such circumstances one may turn to The Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 (“the 1975 Act”) which enables claims to be made by certain category of people including cohabitants. In specific Section 1(1A) of the 1975 Act covers co-habitants and provides that a claim can be brought if “……. during the whole of the period of two years ending immediately before the date when the deceased died, the person was living:

(a) in the same household as the deceased; and
(b) as if that person and the deceased were a married couple or civil partners”.

The Claimant must therefore have been living with the Deceased for “the whole of the period of two years” before death, although some limited exceptions are recognised including circumstances that let to separation such as hospitalisation.
Furthermore, the Claimant and the deceased must have been “living in the same household”. I considering the claim, the Court will look at the couple’s circumstances and the arrangements in place including the nature of their relationship as well as their finances and household expenses.
Final requirement under the 1975 Act is that the Claimant and the deceased living as if they were “a married couple or civil partners”. In assessing this requirement, the Court focuses on the long-term commitments between the parties as well as the nature of their relationship.
If you have any queries about contentious probate matters, please contact Maya Elci on me@hpwsolicitors.co.uk


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