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Inheritance Dispute (Financial Provision)

Inheritance Dispute (Financial Provision)


We will assess your potential claim with you to see whether you are likely to qualify.  

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We can quickly help you understand whether it might be worth making a claim.  You must act quickly as time limits apply for the courts to be able to consider your claim.


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

  • Have you been left very little or excluded from the will altogether?
  • Are you within the category of person entitled to bring a claim?
  • Were you financially dependent on the deceased?
  • Has it been less than six months since probate was granted (it is sometimes possible to claim outside of this period)?

The distribution of a deceased’s estate, big or small, can often be a source for an inheritance dispute.  Wills are sometimes not updated as regularly as they should be.  This means that changes in families may not be properly reflected in wills that are left.

Generally, an individual is free to leave their property to whomever they wish.  However, the courts will intervene where it is believed that inadequate provision has been made for certain individuals.

Do I qualify – who can make a claim under the 1975 Act?

The following people may bring a claim for financial provision:

  • a current or former spouse of civil partner of the deceased;
  • a current or former spouse or civil partner who has not remarried and who has not received a financial settlement following the marriage breakdown;
  • any person who, in the two years prior to the deceased’s death, was living in the same household as the deceased as their spouse or civil partner;
  • any child of the deceased including illegitimate, legitimate and adopted children of any age;
  • any person whom the deceased treated by them as their child of the marriage or civil partnership;
  • any person not included above who was maintained wholly or partly by the deceased immediately before his death (excluding those who were paid, such as domestic servants, unless they fall under other criteria above).

Whilst family members are the most likely people to claim, unrelated individuals can claim too if they can show some dependency.

How to claim

This type of claim is made under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 by issuing a Part 8 Claim Form at Court together with the evidence upon which you rely.  The specific statutory provisions upon which you rely should be set out.

This type of claim can be complicated and you should always instruct a solicitor to advise and assist you.

We understand that this type of claim can be incredibly difficult to bring if you are acting without a solicitor.  As such, we may be able to assist you following an initial review, by entering into a “no-win no-fee” agreement.  Not all cases are suitable for this type of agreement, however, especially where the prospects of succeeding are not incredibly strong.  In borderline cases, we may be able to assist with a different arrangement, where we share some of the risk with you, so you do not have to pay the full hourly rates we would normally charge.

We would seek our costs from the estate in the first instance, and you would only be asked to pay us personally if we were unable to recover from the estate.  Again, we can assist you in identifying whether this is likely.

Time limits

Claims must normally be made within 6 months of the grant of probate.  Sometimes, claims can be made outside of this time period, although the Court will need to be persuaded that it is appropriate to allow you to claim late.  It may not be too difficult to persuade the court of this but each case will depend on its own facts.

What does the Court consider?

When considering your claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, 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 courts consider 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.

(s.3 of the 1975 Act)

Where the court believes that “reasonable financial provision” has not been made, it can make various types of order to ensure that the applicant is properly catered for; these include the following:

  • Regular payments out of the estate;
  • A lump sum payment out of the estate;
  • A transfer of specific property (including land) 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 courts generally have a discretion as to what it considers, in any given case, to be appropriate and reasonable financial provision.  However, we will guide you as to what we consider to be most likely to awarded at court.

Inheritance disputes of this nature, when seeking payment from the estate, can sometimes be resolved quickly following correspondence between the parties and the beneficiaries.  Where this is not always possible, then specialist litigation solicitors are essential, to ensure that you minimise the time time it will take to get the best recovery for you, at as little expense (if any) as possible.