Headlines are reporting that George Michael’s ex-partner Kenny Goss has successfully claimed financial provision from the pop icon’s £98million Estate.
Can an ex claim for financial provision on death?
In some circumstances, yes.
An unmarried partner (or ex-partner) does not receive automatic provision from the estate of a deceased partner, unless there is a Will specifically providing for them. This is the case irrespective of the length of the relationship.
It is however possible for an unmarried partner to forward a claim against the Estate of their partner for financial provision from it if they do not consider they have been reasonably provided for under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 (“the 1975 Act”).
This claim is available for an unmarried partner who has been living with the deceased person prior to their death. It is also possible for an ex-partner to make a similar claim despite the breakdown of their relationship, if they were still being financially maintained by the deceased as at the date of their death. If they can show that they have been financially maintained by their ex-partner (this could be by way of maintenance payments, providing housing, or other forms of financial provision) following their separation, they could argue that they require provision from the Estate to continue this maintenance under the 1975 Act.
Kenny Goss’ claim
The claim pursued by Kenny Goss was under the 1975 Act.
Under the 1975 Act, a person who is ‘disappointed’ by their provision under a Will or the rules of intestacy can make a claim in the civil court for financial provision from the Estate, providing they fall within the classes of eligible beneficiary (two of which have been alluded to above).
How to protect against these claims
1975 Act claims are dangerous, expensive and stressful for all involved. It’s incredibly important to ensure a formal Separation Agreement is put in place when separating from an unmarried partner (irrespective of whether you intend on maintaining them financially) to confirm the terms of your separation in a formal, legally drafted document.
Our bespoke Separation Agreements attempt to debar the various claims (including claims under the 1975 Act) and offer protection and reassurance for the future.