Last week, a legal journal reported on the case of a bereaved 69 year old woman, whose long-term partner had not updated his will in the 18 years they had lived together, resulting in his share of the couple’s house going to his estranged wife.
The woman, Ms. Williams, took the case to court and although the judge ruled in her favour, she said the process had been ‘traumatic’. An up-to-date will would have removed a lot of stress and heartache, at a time of bereavement.
Speaking after the hearing, Ms Williams said: “All I wanted was for the Court to recognise that I needed to have his share of the house that was our home to provide me with some security for my future and this judgment has done just that. I believe that that is what Norman would have wanted for me. The judge’s decision means I can now stay in my home and my future is much more secure as I have the freedom to sell the property in the future when I need to.
“What has been traumatic for me is that this level of serious relationship is not currently recognised by the law and I therefore had to bring this claim in court to achieve some security and to obtain this result. I hope my situation raises awareness for others to consider their own financial position in relation to their partner and consider whether they need to take advice to protect each other in the future.”
This case highlights the importance for unmarried couples to keep their wills up to date and to seek legal advice regarding any co-owned property.