Think you should be entitled to an estate as part of your inheritance?
In certain circumstances, relatives or the partner of a deceased person who do not receive any entitlement from the estate of the deceased (either because they were left out of the Will or because the person died without a Will so they did not inherit) can make a claim against the estate under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.
The basis for the claim, though, cannot be just disappointment or because of any sense of entitlement (though the courts will consider morality in some cases) but must be due to the claimant not having received sufficient financial provision from the estate to meet their needs.
Who could claim under the Inheritance Act 1975?
Those who may be able to claim are:
- A spouse or civil partner.
- A child (including adult children and adopted children as well sometimes, stepchildren).
- A former spouse or civil partner (if they have not remarried).
- A cohabitee (if they lived with deceased for at least 2 years before they passed away).
- Any person who was financially maintained by the deceased.
What does the court decide?
The court has to have regard to several factors when deciding on the claim. These include the size of the estate, the financial resources and needs which the claimant has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future. This is the same for other potential claimants and the other beneficiaries, any obligations or responsibilities which the deceased had towards the claimant and other beneficiaries. This is in addition to any physical or mental disability of the claimant and other beneficiaries and finally, any other relevant matter including the conduct of any of the parties.
The time limit for a claim is exactly 6 months from the date of the Grant of Probate. Potential claimants need to act fast. An extension of that time may be possible in some circumstances but is not guaranteed. So do not leave it too late. Seek early advice from a solicitor.
How can Marsden Rawsthorn help?
If you think you may be eligible for a claim, at Marsden Rawsthorn we can consider various options of funding your case with you including (depending on your circumstances and the merits of your claim):
- Private payment
- Legal expenses insurance
- No win no fee
- Payment at the end of your case
We also act on behalf of beneficiaries who need to defend these kinds of claims made by disappointed relatives (often siblings who their deceased parent chose to remove from their Will) and funding options are also available in this situation too.
Again, you must act promptly if you receive notification of such a claim. This avoids court proceedings being issued against the estate without the claim being considered or without you fully advised.
Want to speak to one of our solicitors?
Contact our Dispute Resolution Team now to speak to our specialists about your situation.
Call 01772 799 600 to arrange a free initial discussion with a solicitor.
Article by Katy Rider, Dispute Resolution Solicitor.
Katy is currently studying to become a member of the Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists (ACTAPS) and she regularly acts for both claimants and defendants in Inheritance Act claims.