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My partner didn’t make a will because he said I’d get everything under the intestacy rules if he died, but now I’m told I get nothing because we weren’t married — what can I do?

The intestacy rules are legally binding rules saying who gets what from the ‘estate’ — everything your partner owned when he died — if he had not made a will. If you were not married or in a civil partnership, you will get nothing under the intestacy rules.

However, there may be some property you are entitled to, as it does not count as part of your partner’s estate at all:

  • Jointly-owned property, such as a joint bank account, may go direct to you.
  • If you contributed to the purchase or mortgage costs of the home you shared, you may be entitled to a share of its value. The same applies for other assets: for example, if you bought a car together.
  • You may be entitled to any gifts made to you by your partner ‘in contemplation of death’ — for example, if when he expected to die he handed over the keys to his car and told you to take it.

Additionally, if you were living together in the same house for two years before your partner’s death, you can go to court to claim ‘reasonable financial provision’. You must act quickly as you need to bring your claim within six months.

A situation like this can become difficult, as whoever is entitled to inherit under the intestacy rules may dispute your entitlement. You should take legal advice.

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