3rd May 2018
Court Awards Partner Share Of Estate
The law generally allows you to leave your estate to whoever you wish – even if your will cuts out close family. But there is an exception for your spouse/partner or someone else you were supporting financially. In that case, they may be entitled to a share of your estate, or to increase the share you leave them.
A recent High Court case has highlighted how the system works. Mrs Thompson brought a claim against the estate of her late partner, Mr Hodge, which was worth over £1.5m. They had lived together for more than 40 years, although they had never married, and she worked (unpaid) on his farm. She lived in a house that Mr Hodge had bought specifically for them to live together in.
Mr Hodge cut out Mrs Thompson out of his will entirely. He left his entire estate to his tenants in another property. He left a letter of wishes with his will, in which he claimed that Mrs Thompson had sufficient resources of her own to support herself. However, this was not in fact the case, and Mrs Thompson was financially dependent upon him.
The court found for Mrs Thompson. She was awarded about one third of the estate, under the terms of the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. This included an outright transfer of the house, plus the cost of renovating it, and a further lump sum for future maintenance and care.
The significant factors for the court were that there was a long period of cohabitation, and that the house had been bought specifically to provide Mrs Thompson with a home.
Judgment: Thompson v Raggett  EWHC 688 (Ch).
For more information about challenging a will, click here