parent partner inheritance

The number of claims being made by an adult child against a parent’s estate are increasing year on year, and this correlates with the number of individuals entering into marriages or cohabitation arrangements later in life.

These disputes are often deeply upsetting for all involved and more often than not, can be avoided.

When your parent meets someone new

At first, adult children are usually relieved when a parent meets someone new, knowing that they have someone for times of need and companionship in later life. However, this initial feeling can turn into concern, particularly if the parent unfortunately passes away leaving their partner in occupation of the family property.

What the law currently says

We are frequently contacted by adult children who are concerned their elderly parent is entering into a new relationship without putting in place the required mechanisms to protect their assets and in turn, their family’s inheritance.

There is currently no legislation in England and Wales which governs cohabitation of unmarried couples, so disputes arising between unmarried couples (or their estates) are notoriously unpredictable and can be extremely expensive. It is vital to seek legal advice to put in place mechanisms to protect your parent’s assets and avoid any disputes arising at a later date. Providing clarity to all concerned is often a means of promoting a healthy relationship between all family members.

While most are glad to see their parent find a new partner later in life, or indeed a ‘companion’, it is perfectly natural to have these concerns over the legal and financial implications on any inheritance if their parent decides to enter into a new relationship.

How your parent can protect themselves and your inheritance

There are a number of potential claims that can be forwarded by an unmarried partner both during your parent’s lifetime and if they unfortunately pass, so it is vital that your parent is fully informed of these possibilities and takes the necessary steps to protect themselves and their estate against these claims.

To avoid your parent’s assets and potentially their estate being subjected to a lengthy and costly dispute, we strongly advise that your parent enters into a Cohabitation Agreement or Companionship Agreement with their new partner, which will offer the best possible protection available to them.

If you would like advice on claims and how these may impact the division of your parent’s assets should their relationship break down or they pass away, please get in touch.