Factsheet - Inheritance Claims

The effect of the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975 is to enable eligible persons who have not been provided with a “reasonable financial provision” from a deceased’s estate to seek to change how the estate assets are distributed. 

The following classes of persons are eligible to pursue such a claim: 

  1. The spouse or civil partner of the deceased;
  2. The former spouse or civil partner of the deceased;
  3. A child of the deceased;
  4. A person treated as child by the deceased;
  5. A person who was maintained by the deceased; or
  6. Any person living in the same household as the deceased as a spouse or civil partner for a period of at least two years prior to the date of death. 

Essentially the Court will ask itself the following three questions: 

  1. Does the will (or intestacy provision) make reasonable financial provision for the applicant?
  2. If not, should the court intervene so as to award such provision from the estate?
  3. If so, what type of provision is appropriate in this particular case? 

In assessing whether an eligible person has received “reasonable financial provision” from a particular estate, the Court will have regard to a number of individual factors. These include, the financial resources and needs which the applicant has or is likely to have in the future; the financial resources and needs which any other applicant or beneficiary has or is likely to have in the future; the size and nature of the net estate; any physical or mental disability of any applicant or beneficiary; and any other relevant matter. 

Inheritance claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975 must be started (issued at Court) within a 6 month period from the date of the grant of representation (either a grant of probate or letters of administration). Only in exceptional circumstances will the Court allow such a claim to be started outside of this period. Accordingly, applicants should act quickly to seek legal advice from a very early stage.   

Should you wish to have a free initial telephone consultation in order to discuss your particular matter relating to this area, please call us on 01384 410410 and ask to speak to James Coles or Susan Ford. Alternatively, you can e-mail us your enquiry at contentiousprobate@georgegreen.co.uk providing a brief summary of the issues, along with your contact details or, if you prefer, you can use the online enquiry form, and we will contact you for an initial free telephone consultation.

Advisory Note

The contents of this note are a brief summary of the principles relating to this topic and are not to be treated in any way as comprehensive advice for any particular matter. Each matter will turn substantially on its own facts and specific legal advice should be obtained in each case.