IMPORTANT INFORMATION- DISPUTES
Who can bring a claim under
(Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 (The “Inheritance Act”)
The law allows certain categories of people to make a claim for reasonable financial provision to be made to them from the deceased’s estate because it failed to do so under the terms of the will (or intestacy):
a surviving spouse or civil partner of the deceased;
a former spouse or former civil partner of the deceased who has not re-married or formed a new civil partnership;
the deceased’s child (minor or adult);
someone who deceased treated as their own child (e.g. adopted, fostered, step-child);
someone who the deceased provided for financially.
Reasonable Financial Provision
What financial provision would be reasonable will vary on who is the claimant and on their personal circumstances. For example, if the claim is made by a surviving spouse of 20 years of marriage, reasonable financial provision means such financial provision as it would be reasonable in all the circumstances of the case for that spouse to receive, whether or not that provision is required for his or her maintenance.
Each claim is different
Relationships take many forms and family members can and do get estranged. For this reason each claim is different. The courts have a wide discretion in how the deceased’s estate will be distributed when an Inheritance Act claim has been made. If you have been left out of a will, or the legacy you received under the terms of the deceased’s do not sufficiently meet your needs – our Dispute Resolution Team can help achieve the best outcome in your circumstances.
Similarly, if you find yourself on the “other side” of the inheritance dispute (e.g. you are a beneficiary (or one of beneficiaries) in the estate who is defending an Inheritance Act claim) our Dispute Resolution Team have significant experience to help you find the best resolution.
There is a strict limitation period of six months to bring an Inheritance Act claim which starts running from the date probate is granted and so it is important to speak to a solicitor as soon as possible to discuss your options.