I WAS IN A COMMON LAW RELATIONSHIP BUT MY PARTNER HAS SINCE PASSED AWAY. HOW DO I ENSURE I RECEIVE A SHARE OF MY PARTNER’S ESTATE?
When a person who was in a common law relationship passes away WITHOUT A WILL and leaves behind a surviving partner, that surviving partner can claim a share of the deceased's estate. With the help of an attorney, the surviving cohabitant must:
(1) File a Notification of Interest at the Supreme Court of Trinidad and Tobago declaring the fact that he/she was in a cohabitational relationship with the deceased and has an interest in his/her estate. According to section 25 of the Administration of Estates Act, this must be done within 28 days after the death of the person. However, if this time has passed it is possible to apply for an extension of time to file the notification of interest.
(2) File an application in court to declare that you were in a cohabitational relationship with the deceased.
The surviving person will only be considered to be living in a cohabitational relationship with the deceased if the surviving person and the deceased both lived together for at least 5 years immediately preceding the death of the deceased and they lived together as husband and wife. Once you are declared by the court to have been in a cohabitational relationship with the deceased you will be entitled to a share of his/her estate.
PLEASE NOTE: If the cohabitant dies WITH A WILL, his or her estate, will be shared according to his or her wishes as set out in the will.
Important Notice: This post does not constitute or provide legal advice. Always consult a suitably qualified lawyer on any legal problem or issue.