Private Client analysis: In Thompson v Ragget and others  EWHC 688 (Ch),  All ER (D) 18 (Apr), the claimant claimed reasonable financial provision under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 out of the estate of her late partner, who had left her nothing. Paul King, CEO and head of legal practice, and Jen Wiss-Carline, chartered legal executive at April King Legal, comment on the case.
What are the practical implications of this case?
If a cohabiting couple do not make wills and one passes away, the survivor has no statutory right to inherit under the intestacy rules. However, like the claimant, a surviving cohabitee may use the courts to claim for financial provision where they have cohabited for two years, or where they were a dependent immediately before the deceased’s death.
A key issue in such cases, like the present case, is whether to provide accommodation by way of a life interest, rather than a capital transfer. In the well-publicised case Ilott v The Blue Cross and others
 UKSC 17,  1 FLR 1717, Lord Hughes noted:
'[I]t is necessary to remember that the statutory power is to provide for maintenance, not to confer capital on the claimant...If housing is provided by way of maintenance, it is likely more often to be provided by such a life interest rather than by a capital sum.’
However, in the present case HHJ Jarman QC recognised that granting a life interest rather than conveying a property outright was not an absolute rule, stating:
‘All cases are fact sensitive and in the present case that possibility is a reality.’