Claim against a Person’s Estate by a Co-Habiting Partner

Until 2010, if an unmarried person died without making a will (intestate), that person’s partner would not inherit anything from the deceased’s Estate. The introduction of the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Co-Habitants Act, 2010 makes provision for Civil Partners under these circumstances.

While the Act does not provide any automatic entitlement for co-habiting couples, it allows a “qualified co-habitant” to bring a claim before the Court for provision their deceased partner’s Estate. This is provided for in Section 194 of the 2010 Act.

A “qualified co-habitant” is a person who was in a co-habiting relationship with their partner for a continuous period of five years (if the couple did not have children together) or a lesser continuous period of two years (if the couple did have children together).

A Section 194 claim must be brought within 6 months of the grant of letters of administration issuing. There is no obligation on an executor to notify a co-habiting partner of their right to bring a Section 194 claim. If you feel you may have such a claim, contact your solicitor for advice.

Case Study 1 – Claim brought by Qualified Co-Habitant

We acted for a client who had been in a co-habiting relationship with her partner for over ten years before he passed away. Unfortunately, our client’s partner had failed to make a will prior to his death and she was therefore not entitled to inherit anything from his Estate. Our client was most upset by this since she and her partner had intended to marry. She had been financially reliant on him during the course of the relationship and had acted as the homemaker. She had also looked after him during his illness in the year leading up to his death. Our client brought a claim under the 2010 Act against his Estate and succeeded in obtaining a significant portion of the assets in the Estate.

If you would like to arrange a consultation in relation to possibly making a claim under the Civil Partnership and Cohabitants Act, please contact Niall on 01 872 5255 or by email