Will I automatically inherit my partner's estate as a common law husband or wife?
There is no legal status in England and Wales of a "common law" husband and wife. If you have not made a will, on your death your estate will pass in accordance with the intestacy rules, irrespective of whether you have children with your partner or the length of time you have lived together.
What can I do if I have been left out of a will or I am unhappy about my share?
Depending on your relationship with the deceased and your financial circumstances, you may be eligible to make a claim under the Inheritance Act.
If you are considering a claim under the Inheritance Act, it is essential that you seek legal advice as soon as possible - Inheritance Act claims must be brought within 6 months of the grant of representation to the estate. If you are already out of time please do still contact us as we may still be able to help.
If the will does not reflect a promise made by the deceased before his or her death (such as a promise to transfer land or property) you may have a proprietary estoppel claim. You also might want to look at whether there is any possibility of making a challenge to the validity of the will.
Are there time limits for bringing an Inheritance Act claim?
Yes - a claim under the Inheritance Act, must be brought within 6 months of the date of grant of representation. If you are already out of time please do still contact us as we may still be able to help.
How much does an Inheritance Act claim cost?
It is difficult to say how much the total cost of an inheritance dispute will be as it will depend upon what work needs to be undertaken and how the other parties deal with the claim.
The overall cost of court proceedings can however vary from a few thousand pounds to many tens of thousands of pounds. Depending on the circumstances of the case, we generally always try and settle our cases outside of court to keep costs to a minimum for our clients. This also means our clients have as much control as they can over any settlement reached.
We appreciate that the cost of obtaining legal advice or pursuing or defending a claim is often of most concern to clients. Depending on the circumstances of your case, we may be able to offer you alternative funding options, such as "no win, no fee" or a deferred payment arrangement.
Contentious probate is a niche area and we strongly recommend that you seek legal advice from a specialist. You can find details of the lawyers in our dedicated Disputed Wills and Trusts Team here.
Contact our Disputed Wills and Trusts Team on freephone 0800 0931336, or by email firstname.lastname@example.org for a free, no obligation chat to see how we can help you.