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Disabled elderly lady not left enough money in her partner’s Will for a roof over her head


Imagine you (Mary) and your partner (Burt) have lived together for 15 years – you were not married and did not have any children together.  Burt has two children from a previous marriage that he hasn’t seen in years.

Burt sadly passes away.  The house is the only asset in the estate and is in Burt’s sole name.  The will gives you a 20% share, which is around £32,000.  The rest of the estate is to be divided equally between Burt’s two estranged children.

You have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.  You’re retired and receive a limited income from your state pension and PIP allowance – you also have £30,000 in savings.   You will have to make immediate arrangements to move out so the house can be put on the market.

You cannot afford another property, even with your savings and the money left to you under the terms of will.  Your only option is to move in with family.

Mary and Burt had been living together for more than 2 years before Burt died.  Therefore she is entitled as a cohabitee to make a claim against her partner’s estate under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.

This case settled at mediation.  The priority was to secure a home for Mary.  This could’ve been achieved by way of a life interest which generally means Mary would’ve had the right to live in Burt’s property for the rest of her life.  When she died the sale proceeds would be split under the terms of Burt’s Will.

However, in this case the property was too big for Mary and she was starting to struggle using the stairs.  It was agreed between the parties that the property would be transferred into Mary’s sole name.  Mary also agreed to give £12,000 each to the estranged children from her savings.  This meant that Mary could sell the property and buy a small ground floor flat.

If you have a similar matter and require legal help or advice, please get in touch on 0800 8 60 62 65.

Samantha Hirst

Samantha Hirst

Solicitor – Litigation

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