Inheritance Act Claims

Family members and those who were financially dependent on someone who has died, but who have not been adequately provided for in the inheritance, may be able to claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Defendants) Act 1975.

This law can help people who had good reason to expect to be included in a Will and who have not been included.

The Inheritance Act also protects those whose loved one has died without a Will and believe they have been inadequately provided for by the intestacy rules. 

The following criteria must be met to allow a claim to be brought:

1. The deceased must have had domicile status in England or Wales. 

This generally means that they lived in England or Wales. However domicile status can be more complicated. For example a person may have been born in England or Wales and moved abroad while retained their domicile. Alternatively someone might have moved here from another country and adopted a new domicile.

2.  Unless there is good reason for a delay, the claim must be issued within six months of the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration being issued.

3.  Your relationship with the deceased must fall under one of the Act’s categories:

The Inheritance Act specifies who is entitled to bring a claim. You can only bring a claim if your relationship to the deceased falls within one of these categories:

  • A spouse or civil partner
  • A former spouse or civil partner who has not re-married or formed a new civil partnership*
  • A person who has lived with the deceased as the spouse or civil partner of the deceased for at least two years before their death, this includes same sex relationships
  • A child of the deceased; this includes adopted children and adult children
  • A step-child of the deceased, if they have been treated as a child
  • Any person who at the time of death was financially maintained, whether wholly or partly, by the deceased

4.  You must be able to prove that reasonable financial provision has not been made

The interpretation of the word “reasonable” is up to the Court to determine. Little weight will be attached to the deceased’s reasons. Instead the Court considers various factors, including:

  • the financial resources and needs of the person bringing the claim
  • the financial needs and resources of other applicants and beneficiaries of the estate
  • any obligations and responsibilities the deceased had towards any applicants or beneficiaries
  • the size and nature of the deceased’s estate
  • physical and mental disabilities of other applicants and beneficiaries
  • the conduct of the applicant and other persons that may be relevant in the case

If you do not satisfy the criteria for an Inheritance Act claim you may still be able to bring a Proprietary Estoppel claim or Constructive Trust claim so these options are worth exploring with a contentious probate solicitor.

Inheritance Act Claim checklist – do you meet the criteria?

Did the deceased die domiciled in England and Wales?

 

Yes

Is it less than six months since the Grant of Representation to the Estate obtained? Or do you have a good reason for bringing the claim later that the 6 month time limit?

 

Yes

Do you fall within one of the classes of people who are entitled to bring a claim? (See above)

 

Yes

Do you think you will be able to satisfy the Court that the deceased should have made reasonable financial provision for you?

 

Yes

If you answer yes to all of the above then you may have a valid claim. Our experienced contentious probate solicitors offer free, no obligation consultations.

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Tel 01273 775533

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Tel 01323 730543

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Tel 01323 891412

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Tel 01798 875358

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Tel 01903 743201

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Tel 01293 804698

Primary Contact

Barry  Davis
Barry Davis

Partner

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