You and the Law – 4th May 2010

Partner’s claim 

My partner is considering moving into my house.  We discussed drawing up a prenuptial agreement, but we read that, after two years, one partner can claim half of the other’s estate.  Would this override a prenuptial agreement on my death, or the break-up of the relationship?  HM

If you’re not planning on marriage you would be looking to draw up a cohabitation, not a prenuptial, agreement.  However the effect is much the same: they can be useful for clarifying agreements, but the courts won’t necessarily be bound by them.

If you were to split up before you died, your partner (or ex-partner at that
stage) would have no claim on your estate.  If you were to die after living together for two years your partner could make a claim, but the court would take your cohabitation agreement into account in deciding what he or she was entitled to.  I suggest you both make Wills so your intentions are clear.

Quicker exit

I work for a subsidiary of a multinational company.  We were told that reorganisation was taking place, but our jobs were safe until next December.  We’ve now been told that our office will close by September.

Is it legal to be given false security of employment like this?  We’ve been told the redundancy package is likely to be the basic legal requirement plus £1,000.

Statements made by your employers can alter the terms of your employment contract, so in theory if your employers make you redundant four months earlier than previously stated you could sue them for breach of contract.

However given the amount of notice you have received and the fact that there’s an extra payment on top of your redundancy package.  I don’t think you’d get very far with a compensation claim.

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