Because of lockdown my partner died without a will, how can I claim money from their estate?
As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown we are aware that it has been more difficult for people to make wills. Without a will, the Rules of Intestacy will apply. If you are a spouse or civil partner the Rules of Intestacy will make provision for you to receive all or part of their estate, depending on whether your partner had children.
However, if you are not married or in a civil partnership you won’t have a right to any inheritance under the Rules of Intestacy.
If you think you are going to lose out because you are not a spouse/civil partner, or that you will not inherit enough under the Rules of Intestacy, there are various legal routes you could take in order to obtain a greater share of the estate:
- Deed of Variation of Intestacy Rules – the beneficiaries of the estate could agree to vary how the estate is to be shared so that you are given more than what the rules provide. For example, if your partner’s parents inherit everything under the rules, they may agree to vary the distribution to give you something. Or if your partner’s children will inherit, they (or their guardians) may agree to you receiving a greater share. Importantly any variation must be agreed by all the beneficiaries and can only happen within the first 2 years after the death.
- Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 – if you were living with your partner for 2 years prior to their death, married or in a civil partnership you can ask the court to increase the amount you inherit under the rules. The court will weigh up your financial needs against those of any other beneficiaries and decide if you should get more. These types of claims must be made within 6 months of the Grant being issued, so it is important you seek advice quickly.
- Proprietary Estoppel – if your partner had promised you a share of their assets and as a result of that promise you acted to your detriment, you could ask the court to fulfil that promise. For example, if you were promised the family home on death and as a result you had invested all your savings in the refurbishment of that home, you could ask the court to grant you ownership of it after death. This type of case relies heavily on the facts and evidence. So it is important to seek specialist advice to make sure that you are able to provide the right evidence to the court.
The success of any of the above claims will depend on the individual circumstances and the nature of the estate. If you think that any of the above may help you, we can assist you in exploring the best route for you based on your personal situation and what your needs are.
*Disclaimer: The information on the Anthony Gold website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. It is provided without any representations or warranties, express or implied.*