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Aston Lawyer
Aston Lawyer, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10494
Experience:  Solicitor LLB (Hons) 23 years of experience in Conveyancing and Property Law
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My partner passed away on Friday, he left me a letter

Customer Question

Hi,
My partner passed away on Friday, he left me a letter stating he wants me to have any money in his bank account and his pensions. We were not married but together for over 10 years and lived together for over 5 years. I am extremely concerned that I will be breaking the law if I draw money from his bank account. Apparently, there is £20,000. All rent and bill payments are set up by direct debit from his account. Obviously I need to pay for a funeral as well. Please advise me on what I need to do to access his account legally?
Many thanks,
Susan
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Aston Lawyer replied 1 year ago.

Hi Susan, thanks for your enquiry and am sorry to hear of your loss. Could you confirm if you were in a civil partnership or not? Did your partner leave a Will? Is the property jointly owned?

Kind Regards Al

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. We were engaged, he did not leave a will, just a signed letter confirming his requests, apparently the pension provider is aware of his wishes, it's just his bank account that is worrying me. We live in a rented property
Expert:  Aston Lawyer replied 1 year ago.

Hi Susan,

Thanks for your reply.

I am afraid that the letter your Partner signed is not legally binding. As no Will was signed, your Partner's Estate has to follow the Rules of Intestacy.

The Rules of Intestacy can be harsh as they often don’t allow for modern family relationships - ie unmarried couples who are not in a civil partnership.

The Rules of Intestacy make no provision for unmarried and unregistered partners. This means that on Intestacy, the surviving partner will not automatically inherit any of the property and possessions owned in the sole name of the deceased. However, a partner can often make a valid inheritance claim instead, or the family can legally vary the distribution on intestacy to provide for the partner.

As it stands, therefore, I'm afraid you are not classed as your partner's next of kin, and this would be fall on any children/siblings/parents of your Partner. Only this person(s) has the legal right to deal with your Partner's Bank account. I am afraid the Bank will not therefore transfer the account into your name and you are not legally entitled to deal with the account. As there is over £5,000 in the account, your Partner's legal next of kin will need to apply for what is called "Letters of Administration" before the account can be touched or closed.

However, long term, not all is lost. As you had been living together for over 2 years, the Inheritance Provision for Family and Dependents Act 1975 applies. A cohabitee who is not a dependent but who lived with the deceased as man and wife for a period of two years immediately prior to the death, can make a claim for financial provision.

The court can make orders very similar to on divorce: maintenance or lump sum payment. You do therefore need to take urgent legal advice concerning your rights, and you should go and speak to a local Wills Solicitor as soon as you can.

As regards ***** ***** provided your Partner completed a Nomination form, asking for any payments to be made to you, this will take place, and these pension payments will be made to you.

I am sorry this is not the answer you were looking for, but it sets out the legal position.

If I have answered your question, I would be grateful if you could rate my answer.

Good luck.

Kind Regards

Al

Expert:  Aston Lawyer replied 1 year ago.

Hi,

Can I assist you any further?

Kind Regards

Al

Expert:  Aston Lawyer replied 1 year ago.

Hi, if I have answered your question, I would be grateful if you could rate my answer. Kind Regards Al

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