Roger Evans in important inheritance appeal.


8th January 2018

This is the first time that an application by an unmarried partner under the amended subsections 1(1)(ba) and 1(1A) of the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975 (the "1975 Act") has reached the Court of Appeal. The decision to transfer the property to the deceased’s long-term partner was upheld on appeal.

 

Elderly unmarried partners Mr. Warner and Mrs. Blackwell cohabited for 19 years in her house, Green Avon. Mrs. Blackwell subsequently died intestate. The sole beneficiary of her estate was her only child, Mrs. Lewis, who commenced an action for possession of Green Avon against Mr. Warner, who responded by an application under the Inheritance (Provision for Family & Dependants) Act 1975, asserting that he came within s1(1)(ba) & 1(1A), as he had lived in the same household as the deceased as her husband for a period of two years prior to her death.  Mr. Recorder Gardner QC decided, after hearing oral evidence, that the property should be transferred out of the deceased’s estate to Mr. Warner in exchange for a payment of £385,000.  Newey J, as he then was, upheld the Recorder’s decision in Lewis v Warner [2016] EWHC 1787 (Ch). That decision was again upheld by the Court of appeal in Lewis v Warner [2017] EWCA Civ 2182.




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