Here’s to you Mr Robinson…..

Mr Robinson came to see me last July after his partner of some 30 years passed away. They had been living together as husband and wife but were not married. They shared all their household expenses, took holidays together and were a very close couple. Mr Robinson owned one third of the property that they lived in together and his partner owned the other two thirds.

Under her Will, which had not been updated since 1985, his partner left only £3,000 to Mr Robinson, despite her estate being worth approximately £450,000. He wanted to remain living in the home he had shared with his life partner and have enough money to maintain the property and continue paying the bills which they had previously shared.

We successfully argued that Mr Robinson had a claim under the Inheritance (Provisions for Family and Dependents) Act 1975, in that he was living with his partner for 2 years prior to her death, that they were living together as husband and wife, and that he was being maintained by her.

The fact that he was being maintained was true by the fact that she had a majority share in the house which he was living in – effectively being responsible for 2/3 of his accommodation needs, and paid for all their food.

We agreed a Deed of Variation with the other beneficiaries to the will, resulting in a life interest to our client so he could remain in the property for the rest of his life and a lump sum payment, Mr Robinson was very happy with the outcome.

I am an Associate Member of ACTAPS (Association for Contentious Trusts and Probate Specialists). Obtaining this qualification involved a two year distance learning course through the University of Law which is designed to develop skills in contested trusts and probate disputes. The course also covered probate actions, mental capacity, trust disputes, inheritance claims and alternative dispute resolution.  I am now looking forward to growing and expanding the firm’s contentious probate department.

When I am not resolving substantial disputes in my clients’ favour, I enjoy long walks on the beach with my family, cycling and yoga.

I work very closely with Stephen Netherwood who has many years’ experience in dealing with contested trusts and probate.

We offer an initial free telephone consultation for all matters relating to contested trusts and probate, so please do contact me on 01903 229925 for an initial chat.

Article by Hannah Bennett, Associate Solicitor

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The information contained in this article is for general guidance only and is not intended to be legal advice. Professional advice should always be taken on the application of the law in any particular situation.