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Confused about inheritance

(42 Posts)
Paigeturner88 Wed 23-Apr-14 16:46:00


long time lurker here, first time poster and hoping for some advice.

I moved in with my boyfriend in December and am currently 5 months pregnant. Unfortunately my boyfriend died suddenly last month without a will and I'm a bit confused about what I will inherit.

I understand that when someone dies without a will the estate passes to the next of kin which would be our unborn child but what are my rights as girlfriend and mother?

I want to stay in our house but my boyfriend was the main earner and as I'm on maternity leave I could not afford to pay the bills myself, would it be possible to still live here and claim from the estate?

titchy Wed 23-Apr-14 16:49:48

Oh how tragic hmm

I'm not a lawyer but as your baby wasn't born at the time of death and you are not married I don't expect you'd be entitled to anything - his parents or siblings would be his beneficiaries. You maybe able to claim something once baby is born possibly. Did you co-own the house as joint tenants by any chance?

Sorry for your loss.

AnotherFurry Wed 23-Apr-14 16:54:35

I'm not sure of the legalities but I think your unborn child could have a right to some inheritance 'after' it is born. As you mention boyfriend rather than husband you may have some rights being a 'dependant'.

However given that you were not married, your baby has yet to be born and your boyfriend had no will I really would go and see a solicitor for advice as this sounds complicated to say the least.

I am very sorry for your loss and it must be very hard in you at this time thanks

maudpringles Wed 23-Apr-14 16:54:42

I don't think you are legally entitled to anything.
Sorry for your lossthanks

2sugarsmeans3 Wed 23-Apr-14 16:55:28

So sorry for your loss.
Didn't want to read and run, but I'm not a solicitor.
There are many variables.
Like did he own the house outright? Or is there a mortgage? What family does he have? And would they be willing to help you out?
Please try and get to a solicitor in RL and have a proper discussion about this.

AnotherFurry Wed 23-Apr-14 16:56:25

*in = for

Sorry on iPad so lots of typos

Collaborate Wed 23-Apr-14 16:58:36

Titchy that's simply not right.

An unborn child will inherit as if the child had been born by the date of death, provided the child is eventually born live. In this case, provided there are no other children of the deceased, the child will inherit everything.

MarianForrester Wed 23-Apr-14 16:59:12

You need to see a lawyer asap. I don't think you will be entitled to anything from the estate, but your child may be, and there might be joint property that needs sorting out?

Horrible situation for you.

MarianForrester Wed 23-Apr-14 17:01:38

If the house was owned in joint names, might thee be life insurance to cover a mortgage? There is so much to think about, best to get some good advice fro a professional.

2sugarsmeans3 Wed 23-Apr-14 17:01:40

Sorry I should have been more clear- girlfriends are legally entitled to nothing, but you may be able to make a claim on something in his estate for your child. But depends if anything is actually left after mortgage is paid off etc.
Or appeal to his families good nature and ask them to gift you all/some of his estate for you and your child if they are awarded his estate.
Get to a solicitor.

FiloPasty Wed 23-Apr-14 17:01:42

Sorry for your loss thanks nothing to add! but I hope you are getting some real life support

AnotherFurry Wed 23-Apr-14 17:02:25

OP if you google the government website there is a lot of information about what happens if someone dies without a will and you are not married.

It looks like you would have to try and make a claim under the inheritance act. I really think you need legal advice on this one and most firms have solicitors who specialise in probate law.

mrsnec Wed 23-Apr-14 17:13:37

Citizens advice is also very helpful for things like this. Sorry for your loss.

titchy Wed 23-Apr-14 17:22:50

Glad to hear the child will inherit once born collaborate.

Paigeturner88 Wed 23-Apr-14 17:28:19

Thanks for the responses everyone,

I am going to see a solicitor next week but I just wanted to get some idea of where I stand before I do as I think it's going to be complicated. I've done a bit of googling but it's just made me even more confused.

He owns the house but we weren't co-owners, he paid all the bills and have me an allowance. He owns a couple of other properties which he rents out. I'm unsure about mortgages but I don't think he has one on any of the houses and I think his estate will be quite sizeable.

His parents are no longer alive but he has three brothers and a sister, they have been pretty good so far but me and my boyfriend hadn't been together long and I don't know them well.

I did tell them I was going to move back in with my parents for the time being but decided to stay in the house as I didn't want to leave but I'm not sure this has gone down too well with them and I'm worried they'll want me out.

There was cash in the house and I've collected the rent money from his other properties too so I've been paying for bits and bobs from that. My boyfriend owned his own business and his accountant has set me up so that I'm taking a wage out of it so money-wise I'm ticking over which is one less thing to worry about

wasacasa Wed 23-Apr-14 17:35:01

Hi Paige, I'm really sorry to hear about your situation.
I know when my husband died (we are in Scotland so law is a bit different) all his bank accounts were stopped and I couldn't get any money for ds and myself. Are you sure you are entitled to money from the business? Surely it's part of the estate? Just make sure you don't get yourself into any trouble by taking it.
I hope you and your baby will be happy despite the awful situation.

Paigeturner88 Wed 23-Apr-14 17:39:43

Thanks Wasacasa,

Sorry to hear about your husband too xx

I worked at the business (that's how me and my boyfriend met) and although I haven't worked since December I've still been drawing my wage out of it. The accountant has set up
So I'm receiving what my boyfriend used to so I assume it's ok?

HanSolo Wed 23-Apr-14 17:40:58

I'm very sorry for your loss, and what a terrible position to find yourself in.

Please be very careful of spending money from rent collected- if the properties were entirely his, that rent forms part of the estate, and should anyone try to make a claim on it, you could be in a tricky situation with regard to paying them back.

Did he have any other children, or will his sole inheritor be your child? 5mo is awfully early to go on mat leave- have you been very ill with the pg?

I am presuming that a solicitor will make provision for you to provide for your child from the estate, to a reasonably similar standard, until the child becomes of age, unless any other claimants come forwards.

Paigeturner88 Wed 23-Apr-14 17:43:33

Thank you Hans

Ladyflip Wed 23-Apr-14 17:44:13

Sorry to hear about your do Paige.

Your child will be entitled to everything, providing it is born live. s.55 (2) of the Administration of Estates Act includes unborn children. You as the mother of the child are the person entitled to take out the grant of representation, which may not go down well with the relatives.

You must go and see a solicitor. You arent really entitled to take a salary, and do keep records of what you have paid for from the estate.

Good luck with the pregnancy.


Paigeturner88 Wed 23-Apr-14 17:48:41

Thanks Hansolo,

He doesn't have any other children no.

My pregnancy has been fine but because my boyfriend owned the business he said I didn't have to carry on working if I didn't want to so I suppose I'm not officially on maternity leave.

maudpringles Wed 23-Apr-14 18:37:32

Oh dear- this is so sad.
Proper legal advice is needed Paige.
All the very best to you and your bump.

poshfrock Wed 23-Apr-14 19:23:48

Hi Paige

I'm a probate lawyer so unfortunately I have come across your situation many times.
You are doing totally the right thing by taking legal advice but so you are prepared for your meeting I would offer the following comments:
1. As you were not married to your partner you are not legally entitled to any of his estate. In order to make a claim as a financial dependent you would need to have lived together for at least 2 years ( and have proof of this). From your post it seems that this is not the case so you will need to give consideration as to how you will support yourself going forward.
2. Your child will inherit the estate but not until he/she is 18. Until then it will be held on trust for them although payments may be made for their education and welfare. The trustees may also advance up to one-half of the capital.
3. As the mother of the sole beneficiary you are entitled to take a grant in the estate but not by yourself - there must be at least 2 of you in order to protect your child's inheritance. A solicitor or other professional would probably be a sensible choice especially if the estate is a large one, not least to prevent any accusations of misappropriation of funds from the family ( not saying they would do this but you never know, death makes people do strange things).
4. Be prepared for the family to ask for a DNA test to prove paternity. Not pleasant that they could ask for this but see 3 above.
5. If the net estate is worth more than £325,000 then inheritance tax may be due and will have to paid up front. If there are insufficient cash funds in the estate then a loan may be required and ultimately one of the properties may need to be sold.
6. Make sure you keep meticulous records of what you have received as income and what you have spent. The rental income belongs to the estate and will be taxed as such. You can spend it on costs of administration ( including paying the ongoing costs of maintaining the property such as water rates, insurance etc) but not on yourself.
7. How is the business structured ? is it a limited company, a sole trader or a partnership? If a company or a partnership then there may a shareholders' agreement or partnership agreement which states what happens on death and which would override an intestacy. The accountant may know. I'm a bit concerned that he has arranged a "salary" for you as you are not working.

Will come back and add more shortly.

poshfrock Wed 23-Apr-14 19:45:46

Sorry about that- was being called for dinner.

7. (contd) All I was going to add that the business co-owners ( if there are any) may not be very happy about the salary as it will not be tax deductible. I appreciate that the accountant is only trying to be kind and help you out but you do need to be careful of inadvertently doing anything that could be misconstrued.

8. If the properties are mortgaged and there is no life insurance then they will most likely need to be sold to clear the mortgages.

I'm sorry that this is not the news that you were hoping to hear but hopefully now you know what to expect and can start to make plans.

I wish you all the best for you and your baby.

Paigeturner88 Wed 23-Apr-14 20:05:13


Thank you, that's so helpful.

According to the accountant the company is a limited company. The family have suggested that the business be split equally between the siblings, me and the baby.

My father had said that the whole business rightfully belongs to the baby and is currently in talks with the brother as he wants to be voted in as director too in order to protect mine/my child's interest.

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