A 64-year-old man is entitled to 45% of his deceased partner’s €1.41m estate under civil partnership law despite her three brothers’ objections, the High Court has ruled. The woman died from cancer last year aged 69. She did not leave a will.
The man asked the court to make financial provision for him from her estate under the 2010 Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations Cohabitants Act.
The youngest brother, supported by his siblings, argued that the man did not qualify as he was just a close friend, not a cohabitee.
He was required to show he had been in an intimate cohabiting relationship with their only sister for at least five years, the period required for couples with no children. Ms Justice Marie Baker was satisfied that there was a close relationship, and up until the time of her illness, a sexual relationship, entitling him to be provided for as a cohabitee.
While he owns a farm, which the judge valued at €1.44m, he had a relatively modest gross income of €45,000 per annum and was entitled to maintain some elements of the lifestyle he had with his deceased partner, the court ruled.
She found they had a close relationship since 1995/96, after her mother died, that he moved in with her in 2004, and had no other home since then. The couple met in 1994.
The judge was satisfied he moved in with her on the day his own mother died in 2004. While his family farm had been signed over to him, his family home went to his only sibling, a brother.
Despite conversations between the couple in later years about marriage, it never happened. In 2013, t
he deceased had prepared a document in which she said she wanted the family home to go to her brothers and the investment property to her partner, the judge said. After further distribution of certain sums to her family, her partner was to get the rest, the document stated.
The judge considered that this pointed to the fact she chose not to make a will but the document must also inform the court’s thinking in deciding apportionment of the estate.
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