Can Mistresses Make Inheritance Claims?

The lot of a mistress/lover or the male equivalent can be a very lonely and perhaps unhappy one and when it comes to making inheritance claims, both mistresses and lovers are often left out in the cold.  Usually they are now allowed to grieve openly or to take centre stage at the funeral, and then they are not allowed to have help in the sense of a pension etc.  But can they make inheritance claims to support them after their loved one dies?

The Inheritance (Provision For Family And Dependents) Act is very clear that a mistress or a lover can only make an inheritance claim if they were maintained by the person who has died.

Now legally this is an interesting point.  If they were maintained, that does not mean necessarily that the maintenance was full time – it could be ‘partially maintained’ and this is why inheritance claims can often be so difficult.  After all what does partially maintained really mean?

“Partially maintained” could relate to a regular gift of goods or monies to ensure the ongoing welfare of the mistress or lover.  If the deceased person simply gave their mistress or lover small items that were gifts every so often, then this is not likely to be viewed as qualifying for inheritance claims.

Instead, most contested probate solicitors will advise that any lover or mistress will need to show that the deceased gave them monies and gifts of sufficient worth that they were used to maintain that person’s lifestyle – and without these gifts and monies, significant levels of hardship would be experienced or their standard of living would be substantially altered.  After all, if the deceased person only gave his mistress or lover £10 per week, then it would hardly affect alter their lifestyle.  But if they were given say £300 per week, then an inheritance claim may be possible.


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