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Overview: Inheritance Act Claims

Overview: Inheritance Act Claims


Claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975

  • Have you been left very little or excluded from the will altogether?
  • Were you financially dependent on the deceased?
  • Has it been less than six months since probate was granted?

The distribution of a deceased’s estate, big or small, can often create problems amongst families and friends. Generally, an individual is free to leave their property to whomever they wish. Courts, however, can intervene where it is believed inadequate provision has been given to a: spouse, child, civil partner, cohabitee or another, financially dependent, individual. An individual can make a claim for “reasonable financial provision” to be accommodated by, in effect, asking the Court to change the terms of the will.

This type of claim is made under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. You can where excluded from the will altogether, or where inadequate provision has been made.  In order to bring claims, they should normally be made within six months of the date that probate is granted.  However, claims can be made outside of this time period, although the Court will need to be persuaded it is appropriate to allow you to do so.

When considering you’re a claim under the 1975 Act, the court will examine various factors, such as:

  • The financial resources and needs which the applicant has or may have in the foreseeable future;
  • The financial resources and financial needs which any other applicant has or may have in the foreseeable future;
  • The financial resources and needs which any beneficiary has or is likely to have in the future;
  • Any obligations and responsibilities the deceased had towards the applicant or any other beneficiary;
  • The size and nature of the net assets of the deceased;
  • Any physical or mental disability of any applicant;
  • Any other matter, including the conduct of the applicant or any other person which the court considers relevant.
  • your financial resources and needs, any financial or physical dependencies due to a disability, any other responsibilities or obligations owed to you by the deceased and the size of the estate.

(factors – referred to in s.3 of the 1975 Act)

Where the court believes a “reasonable financial provision” has not been made should be made, they can make various orders, for example:

  • Regular payments out of the estate;
  • A lump sum payment out of the estate;
  • A transfer of a specific property to you; and
  • An order can be made which varies any ante or post-nuptial settlement. This variation can be for the benefit of the surviving party to that marriage, any child of that marriage, or any person treated as a child of that family.

The Court generally has a discretion as to what it considers, in any given case, to be appropriate and reasonable financial provision.  However, an appropriately qualified team of experienced litigators represent the greatest prospect of being able to secure the best return, by ensuring that your case is properly put to the Court.