Intestate death and complications for common-law wife and tenancy.

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Comments

  • Flugelhorn
    Flugelhorn Posts: 5,555 Forumite
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    It is much more likely to be evidence  that they bought a shared ownership property together and that she was dependent on him for money towards the rent.

    Re the pension - just worth checking what has actually happened over this - the trustees of the pension can decide who it goes to and they may give it to her if she was financially dependent on him - it doesn't need to go to "next of kin" or indeed any relative

    She needs to claim against the estate through the executor / administrator - if the grant had not yet been made then needs to send a letter claiming under the estate to the sister in law who should then pass it on to the solicitors. Otherwise it might be a case of waiting for the admin to go through 

    One thought is that if the flat is TIC the "estate" now own the deceased share of the estate and should be paying rent.  
  • Marcon
    Marcon Posts: 10,622 Forumite
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    edited 19 January at 8:43PM

    Re the pension - just worth checking what has actually happened over this - the trustees of the pension can decide who it goes to and they may give it to her if she was financially dependent on him - it doesn't need to go to "next of kin" or indeed any relative

     
    Absolutely. It would be an unusual decision to award it to someone else where there is a long term partner. Your client may not 'do' paperwork but she is going to run the risk of missing out substantially if she can't steel herself to contact the pension scheme trustees or pension provider, as the case may be.

    FYI, if it's a defined benefit (aka final salary) scheme, the rules of the scheme will set out who is entitled to a survivor's pension - and I've yet to see one where the rules give permission, let alone preference, to pay to a sister who doesn't appear to have been financially dependent on the deceased.

    The decision is a different one if it's a defined contribution scheme, but it is still worth contesting - and quickly.

    If you give her a suitable wording and can find the contact details for the scheme, hopefully she could bring herself to sign it? Something along the lines of: '[name of deceased] and I have lived together in a relationship akin to marriage for the last [xxx] years. I understand from my sister in law [name] that you decided she should receive my long-term partner's pension on the basis she is next of kin. I was significantly financially dependent on him and will suffer severe financial hardship if this was indeed your decision - and as she was not dependent on him, I find it hard to understand the reasoning. May I please ask you to reconsider, assuming that what [SIL's name] has told me is accurate?'

    My guess is that the pension scheme knows nothing about the partner of 30+ years...and it was up to them to carry out adequate due diligence before taking a decision (always assuming they've actually taken any decision, given the death was apparently 'recent').
    Googling on your question might have been both quicker and easier, if you're only after simple facts rather than opinions!  
  • Marcon
    Marcon Posts: 10,622 Forumite
    First Post First Anniversary Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    edited 19 January at 9:31PM
    Thank you all so much for your comments; i passed them on to my client and she has updated me with more developments;
    her sister-in-law said she was meeting with a solicitor about his estate.  Apparently, as  next of kin, her sister-in-law will receive his pension, and also is not telling my client who the solicitor is after i told her that she is entitled to make a claim for reasonable provision from his estate. She has suddenly been hit with a rent bill for the previous 2 months which has come out of her own savings and drained them quite a bit.  She called the housing people who told her that she is now liable, and she will struggle to afford it.   With her mental health i think they are going to call her to offer her some kind of support to apply for other benefits but she will still struggle with the paperwork, and if she has to move it will be a huge impact on her.  Does she have the right to demand from the sister-in-law who the solicitor is so she can contact them?  It seems the housing people said that although the pension went to her sister-in-law she could gift it to my client who really needs it - her sister-in-law is reasonably well-off, but she doubts she will do this.  My client has found her old driving licence from about 30 years ago and has her partner's one, both of which have their deed poll name on - they never married and this is the only evidence she has that they were together for all those years and changed their name by deed poll.  Would this stand as evidence if needed when making a claim for reasonable provision?

    Thank you once again in anticipation of any helpful information.  
    Coming back to some of your other questions...

    No, she doesn't have the right to demand details of the solicitor, but it doesn't matter. If she (or more probably you) keep an eye out for probate being granted, she has six months from the date it is granted to make any claim. See https://www.gov.uk/search-will-probate 

    She can't apply for letters of administration - unmarried partners are specifically precluded from doing so - but it sounds as if her mental health probably wouldn't be up to it in any case.

    The driving licence would be helpful but there should be plenty of other acceptable evidence if needed eg electoral roll might show them both living at the same address for years, or it could be something as simple as a utility bill in one of their names and a library card in the other person's name - both will require an address, which is the important bit. Or the housing association, a GP/dentist could confirm, perhaps? The pension provider will be interested in their situation at the time of his death and in the years immediately beforehand; you don't need to have been together for 30 years to qualify as a partner.
    Googling on your question might have been both quicker and easier, if you're only after simple facts rather than opinions!  
  • Craftythorny
    Craftythorny Posts: 15 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post
    Thank you all so much for your responses; I have passed them on to my client and they are helpful in helping her decide what to do.
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