Yarmouth man’s homelessness fear due to lack of will

A GREAT Yarmouth man who faces losing his home after his partner passed away has urged couples to be aware of their marital rights.

Colin Goodwin could be left without the house he has lived in for 17 years because the marriage to his late partner Michael Chatwin is not recognised by law.

The couple completed a civil ceremony in 1994 - 10 years before the civil partnership act was introduced to give same-sex couples the marital rights of heterosexual couples.

And because Mr Chatwin did not complete a will, the deeds to his estate are set to pass to his immediate family, which has left Mr Goodwin without his partner's estate, including the right to arrange his funeral.

Mr Goodwin, 37, of Southtown Road, Great Yarmouth, now has to contest probate to discover whether or not he can claim his partner's estate.

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He said: 'My main fear is that I could be left homeless. I'm not sure it will come to that, but the very fact it could happen is frightening.

'But I am also worried that all of his assets will be taken away from me and I will have nothing left to remember him by.

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'The law is still so confusing for same-sex people. Most people just don't know what rights they have, so I want to make people aware of what their rights are.'

Mr Chatwin, was rushed to hospital with pneumonia and emphysema after he collapsed in his home.

The 52-year-old spent five weeks on a life support machine at the James Paget University, before dying of intestinal failure on October 5.

Meanwhile, his mother Grace Chatwin, 83, died of cancer in the GP unit at Northgate Hospital, Yarmouth, while he was in hospital.

Mr Goodwin, who cared for his partner's mother before her death, claimed Mr Chatwin had talked about writing a will, but always said he was too young to think about it.

He said: 'Michael was a bubbly outgoing person who was fun to be around and good company. He got on with everybody and never had a bad word to say about anyone.

'A lot of people around Yarmouth knew us and we were liked by the majority of people in the town. No one could believe we had been together all those years.'

The family of Michael Chatwin did not wish to comment.

A funeral will be held at St Nicholas Church, Great Yarmouth, on Tuesday at 1.30pm.

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