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.
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.
The following people may bring a claim for financial provision:
Whilst family members are the most likely people to claim, unrelated individuals can claim too if they can show some dependency.
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.
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.
When considering your claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, the court will examine various factors, such as:
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:
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.