DEAR DEIDRE: I ONLY found out that my mother had died when a friend rang to offer me condolences. I was shocked to the core.
I am her 55-year-old son. My mum was 77. She lived with her partner but they weren’t married.
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He stopped me from contacting her when she became ill. If I called, he would answer the phone and hang up.
After her death he organised her funeral without really knowing what my mum wanted. He made it clear that no close family would be welcome there.
My mum didn’t make a will but her partner has somehow ended up as the beneficiary of her estate.
As my mum’s next of kin, I should have been contacted to help organise her wishes and then sort out her estate.
We have since discovered that my mum’s partner cheated on her and bought women gifts paid for out of her bank account.
Being prevented from talking to my mum before she died was very upsetting.
I would like to take action against this man but I can’t afford to pay for legal advice. Is there anything I can do?
DEIDRE SAYS: I am sorry your mum died in such unhappy circumstances.
When someone dies without leaving a valid will – intestate – practical problems often add to the emotional pain.
Only married or civil partners and some other close relatives can inherit under the rules of intestacy but, if your mum’s partner can show that she supported him financially, then he could make a claim.
Get free help from Citizens Advice (citizensadvice.org.uk).
My e-leaflet Coping With Bereavement will help.