We’re not married. What happens to my partner’s property if they die?
Question & AnswerWe’re not married. What happens to my partner’s property if they die?
4. Think about whether to make a resulting trust claim
A claim based on a resulting trust means that the property is in your partner's name but is really your property. This might be found where:
- you gave property to your partner that they didn't pay for, or
- property was purchased in only your partner's name but you contributed to buying the property
For example, you transferred half of your home to your partner but they did not pay you for it. Or you and your partner both contributed to the down payment of a house but it was put in only your partner's name.
To find a resulting trust over a piece of property, the court must find that you meant for your partner to hold the property “in trust” for you, and not that you meant to make a gift to your partner. This can be very hard to prove.
You can talk to a lawyer who can tell you whether you have a good claim for unjust enrichment or a resulting trust, and help you through the court process.
If you can't afford to hire a lawyer for your whole case, some lawyers will provide “unbundled services” or “limited scope retainer” services. This means you pay them to help you with part of your case.
If you can't afford to hire a lawyer, you may be able to find legal help in other places.
Legal Aid doesn't usually help with property issues. But it may cover the cost of up to 10 hours with a family lawyer to help negotiate and draft a separation agreement that includes property issues.