Inheritance Claims can be brought under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. These claims should not be confused with disputes over a Will’s validity (see How Can I Contest A Will?).
Claims under the Inheritance Act often arise when the rules of intestacy or the effects of a Will (that is, who gets what) are considered unfair by one or more of the beneficiaries, or by people who think they should have been beneficiaries.
Disappointed beneficiaries and people who believe they should have been beneficiaries may be able to make a claim on the estate of someone who has died. If there is a valid Will, they must show it did not make “reasonable financial provision” for them. Similarly, if the estate is being distributed under the rules of intestacy, they must show how this fails to “make reasonable financial provision” for them.
If you believe you may have a claim, you should seek advice quickly. Any claim must be made within six months of the date of Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration.
Who can claim?
Categories of potential claimants are:
1) The spouse or civil partner of the person who has died
2) A former spouse or civil partner of the person who has died (providing they have not formed a new marriage or civil partnership)
3) A cohabitant of the person who has died
4) A child of the person who has died. This includes adult children
5) Any person who, as a result of a marriage or civil partnership involving the person who has died, was treated by that person as a child of the family in relation to that marriage or civil partnership
6) Any person who was, immediately before the death, being maintained, either wholly or partly, by the person who has died.
What should I do if I want to make a claim?
The law is complicated and you should seek expert legal advice quickly. We are happy to provide free initial advice to let you know whether or not you may have a claim.
Contact Macks on 0800 980 9390 for your free consultation.