If two people cohabit with their children in a house owned by only one of them and the owner then dies without having made a Will, the surviving cohabiting partner has no automatic right to a share of their late partner’s Estate.

Instead, the surviving partner could have to bring a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.  The claim would be brought against those who inherit the Estate, which in this scenario would be a claim against their own children.

As well as the emotional upheaval of a bereavement, this raises issues in relation to how the costs of court proceedings would be funded and how the interests of the children could be best represented.

Strict timescales also apply to these types of claim and therefore it is crucial that legal advice is sought as soon as possible, whether you are considering bringing a claim or whether you are placed in the position of having to defend such a claim on behalf of the beneficiaries.