You and the Law – 22nd September 2009

Everything is at risk

I live with my partner and work for him as well.  I have two small children, while his two daughters have left home.  I have a 20 per cent share in our house. 

My partner is ill and has decided to sell his business, which will leave me without a job.  He’s also changed his Will to leave his daughters a considerable amount of money and his share of the house.  Could the daughters force me out if my partner died?  AS

You should first of all be aware that, if you have lived with your partner for two years or more, you will have a claim on his Estate even if his Will leaves everything to his children.  Since you appear to be financially dependant on your partner this claim could be significant.

You also have rights as a part-owner of the property.  If the daughters wanted you out they would have to go to Court, where your respective needs would be considered.  The fact that you need to provide a home for your children would be important.

You should discuss this detail with your partner.  Ideally you should see a Solicitor together to formalise your position.  You also have employment rights, which could result in the new owner being obliged to keep you on in your job or at the very least in redundancy pay.

Price of forward planning

At Christmas my daughter paid a £300 deposit for a wedding reception at a hotel this September.  The marriage is off, and my daughter asked for her money back, but the hotel has a policy of not returning deposits.  Can we get a refund?  SC

When you put down a deposit it usually means you’re committing yourself to completing the transaction.  If you don’t fulfil your side of the bargain and there’s nothing in the paperwork to suggest that you can have your money back on cancellation, your deposit is usually forfeit.

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