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More rights for cohabitants?

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The recent case of Thompson v Raggett has seen the High Court rule in favour of cohabitant Joan Thompson, awarding her reasonable provision from her late partner’s estate.

The facts

Ms Thompson, aged 79, had been in a relationship with Wynford Hodge for 42 years. In Mr Hodge’s will, no provision had been made for Ms Thompson as his £1.5 million estate was left to tenants and friends. Ms Thompson pursued a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family Dependants) Act 1975 because she believed she was entitled to a portion of her late partner’s estate.


His Honour Judge Jarman QC ruled in favour of Ms Thompson. She was awarded one of Mr Hodge’s properties worth £225,000 that had been purchased as a retirement home for the couple. She was also awarded £188,845 for future maintenance, care and property renovations.


The significance of this case is that a cohabitant, who has no legal rights to their partner’s inheritance, was granted financial security. By awarding Ms Thompson reasonable provision, the courts have paved the way for potential future rights for cohabitees.

If you are living as a couple and are looking for legal advice, please contact Kathryn Moggs in BakerLaw’s Family department at or call 01252 730758.


This article is not a definitive statement of the law. It is designed as a free update on the law at the time of publishing. It is not a substitute for legal advice on specific facts and circumstances. BakerLaw LLP and/or the writer accepts no liability or responsibility for reliance on this article and recommends that you seek independent legal advice on your specific circumstances prior to taking any steps.