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Hi, My mother has lived in her house in Hertfordshire with

her partner for over 20...
Hi, My mother has lived in her house in Hertfordshire with her partner for over 20 years. The house is and has been paid for by my Mother. Her partner has not contributed to the house purchase in any way. She tells me she has in her will the house is left to me. If my Mother was to die before her partner she has in her will he can stay in the house for upto 6 months before he has to vacate the house as it will belong to me. My question is in UK law if they have lived together for over 20 years regardless of who has paid for what could her partner claim 'common law spouse' situation and be allowed legally to stay in the house as long as he likes or dies? Many thanks
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Answered in 11 minutes by:
3/24/2013
Clare
Clare, Solicitor
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 34,698
Experience: family solictor with 25 years experience
Verified
Hi
Although there is in fact such thing as a "Common Law Spouse" the fact that they have lived together for so long does mean that in the event of your mother's death if her Will makes no Financial provision for her partner then the partner can make a claim against the estate.
It is doubtful if six months accommodation would be seen as sufficient provision in the event that he makes an application to the court and either a lump sum could be awarded - or the right to live in the property so long as he needs to do so
Claire
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

Hi Claire,


 


Thanks you for the reply. How can my Mother protect the property (in her will or some other way) for me to be able to inherit as per her will?


 


Thanks Rob

Hi
The best way is for her to discuss with her partner what plans he has for after her death - and probably one option would be to give him the right to remain there so long as he wishes provided he does not cohabit and he pays the insurance and outgoings on the property
Claire
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

Does it matter if my Mothers partner is independently financially self sufficient if he makes a claim against the will?

Hi
Possibly - although it would be his accommodation needs which would be paramount.
Your mother should have a face to face discussion with an experienced Probate lawyer to review what her partner's arrangements are and what any claim could be and then adjust her Will accordingly
Claire
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

Claire,


 


Thank you very much for the advise. Regards Rob

Hi
You are most welcome - I hope all goes well
Claire
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

Hi Claire,


 


Just another thought, would it make any difference if my Mother put the house in my name now and continued to live in as now with her partner for say the next 10 years?


 


Regards Rob

HI
It would be more sensible to place the property in the joint names of yourself and your mother as Beneficial Joint Tenants - which means that it will automatically pass in full to the survivor on the death of the first to die
However there could be problems as your share will form part of your assets in the event of divorce or bankruptcy
Claire
Clare
Clare, Solicitor
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 34,698
Experience: family solictor with 25 years experience
Verified
Clare and 87 other UK Law Specialists are ready to help you
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

Hi Claire,


 


I have been speaking to other legal people (I am in the process of buying a house and while this is going on have been in the company of legal folks) and they seem to think that for my Mothers partner to contest the will and claim to stay in the house he would have to show he has contributed to the home in some way (interms of paying for some repairs or an extention or something house related) otherwise the will will stand as Mother wants it. Would you agree with this?


 


Regards Rob

Hi
I am afraid that this is not the case - they are thinking of applications based on Property Law
This article is helpful
http://www.familylawweek.co.uk/site.aspx?i=ed1462
which sets out the principals - case law since then has widened the likely financial outcomes
Extending the time he can stay to a year might be sufficient IF he has ample resources to rehouse himself
Claire
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago
Hi Claire,

Thanks for your reply, from what you say and if my Mother does have a written agreement with her partner that he would leave the house say within one year of my Mother's death and 5 years after the written agreement my Mother dies, could her partner claim his financial situation had changed since signing and that he can now not afford to pay for other accommodation. Does it sound feasible that legally he could be successful? If he was to stay in the house alone until he died what would happen if he could not pay the bills?
Eg, repairs or just rates, gas etc. I presume the house would be legally in my name, changed after my Mothers death, but if he is living in it who would be responsible for what in terms of house costs?

Many thanks Rob
Hi Robert
A Cohabitation agreement with clear arrangements for his rehousing after a year will be effective - even if he position changes
the house would indeed be yours - and if he could not meet the agreed bills then you would be able to evict him
Claire
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Customer reply replied 3 years ago

Hi Clare,


 


Sorry for the long time since this reply but after many converstaions my Motrher has now agreed to go to a Solictor and get an agreement written up for her partner to sign. Is there any words or sentence that must be inb the letter to make sure it will do the job and not cause me a problem later?


 


Regards Rob

HI
There are no magic words - but do make sure that proper provision is made for his secure housing after her death
Clare
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Customer reply replied 3 years ago
Hi Clare,

Thanks for your reply,

Rob
HI
You are most welcome
Clare
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Customer reply replied 3 years ago
Hi Clare,

I have just re read the last couple of messages. Do I understand correct that any agreement must state where or how my Mothers partner is to be housed if she was to die?

If this is the case and he has no personal funds (which we believe to be the case) then does the cost have to come from my Morher estate in some way? If this is the case the house is all she has so the house will have to pay for his housing indefinitely?

Regards Rob
Hi
There MUST be some consideration of how he will be housed after her death as otherwise he can make a claim against the estate
So it could be the right to live there for a year or something similar - but it MUST be clear that consideration was given to what would happen to him in that situation
Clare
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Customer reply replied 3 years ago
Hi Clare,

If it is written in the agreement that he can stay a year in the house and he has no personal funds then it is only a short term solution , does the agreement need to cover long term?

Thanks Rob
Hi
As I said - it is a risk, so it is important that the area is discussed and it has to be clear that he has been given a chance to make his alternative plans - which could be local Authority housing
Clare
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Customer reply replied 3 years ago
Hi Clare,

Thanks for the reply and your patience.

Regards Rob
Hi
You are most welcome
Clare
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Customer reply replied 3 years ago
Hi Claire,

To let you know the result of my Mothers situation, at long last she made an appointment to see another solicitor that specialisers in wills and probate. I was not at the meeting as I am a beneficiary, but as I understand it from Morher the existing will was reviewed which states that Mothers partner can stay in the house for a maximum of 6 months if she were to die. She asked if a seperate letter should be written and signed by her partner stating this and the Solicitor did not think it was necessary just the reverse. It is stated in the will what housing has been provided and a separate letter shows liability .

As I say I was not at the meeting but Mother was advised that what she had was good enough!

So nothing has changed I just hope it does not become an issue later.

Regards Rob
Hi
I hope all goes well
Clare
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Customer reply replied 3 years ago
Hi Claire,

Thanks for the reply, in your professional opinion do you think this latest Solitors advice that was given direct to Mother was sound?

Thanks Rob
Hi
I disagree on the letter - but understand the caution
Personally I would have said a year was better than six months but again that is debatable
Clare
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Clare
Clare
Clare, Solicitor
Category: UK Law
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