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Inheritance Disputes and Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 Claims
While a person is free to leave their estate to whoever they want when they die, there are some people who may have a reasonable expectation to benefit from it.
Even if the will is valid, certain relatives and dependents can challenge the division of the estate under the will (or the rules of intestacy) by claiming under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 for “reasonable financial provision”. The Inheritance Act was introduced in recognition of the fact that, on occasion, someone’s will, or the rules of intestacy, may not leave sufficient funds from the estate to financial dependents or relatives of the person who has died.
The categories of people who may make a claim include:
- A spouse or civil partner
- A former spouse or civil partner if they have not remarried
- Someone living with the deceased for at least two years before their death
- Any person being financially maintained in some way by the deceased.
The Courts will take many different factors into consideration when determining the success or failure of a claim for “reasonable financial provision” and these include:
- The financial needs and resources of the beneficiaries and applicant(s);
- Any obligations and responsibilities that the deceased had towards any applicant or beneficiary;
- The size and nature of the estate;
- Any disability (physical and mental) of any applicant or beneficiary; and
- Any other matter, including the conduct of the parties.
If you feel that you are entitled to “reasonable financial provision” from someone’s estate, but you have been excluded from their will, not provided enough or not provided for under the intestacy rules, then it is important to obtain specialist legal advice. Not only are claims time-sensitive, claims need to be made within six months from the date probate is granted, they are also decidedly complex.
We are able to provide expert advice on every aspect of pursuing or defending against an Inheritance Act claim. We are firmly of the view that disputes under the Inheritance Act should, wherever possible, be mediated outside of court. We encourage and facilitate all forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). Where a claim cannot be settled out of court, we will help you take your claim to court.
We understand that an inheritance dispute can often be a stressful and emotional experience. For the peace of mind that only specialist legal advice can provide, please do not hesitate to contact us on 020 3928 7102 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.