Inheritance Act claims
It will often be a troubling time to lose someone but even more so if you were reliant on that person for financial support; whether that be on an ongoing basis or in respect of your future needs.
You could be eligible to make an Inheritance Act claim for reasonable provision from the deceased’s estate if they died intestate, have not left you anything in their Will or if you consider that the provision for you in their will is insufficient to meet your needs and you were:
- the spouse/civil partner of the deceased;
- the former spouse/civil partner of the deceased who has not remarried or entered into a further civil partnership;
- living with the deceased for at least two years prior to their death;
- the deceased’s child (which includes an adult child);
- treated as the deceased’s ‘child’ (for example, but not necessarily, adopted, fostered or a step-child); or
- being “maintained” by the deceased.
The Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 (‘the 1975 Act’) allows the court to make financial provision for those who:
- have not inherited as a result of intestacy (where there is no will);
- have been left out of a will entirely; or,
- have not been left as much as they need.
- In a case where reasonable financial provision has not been made, the Inheritance Act enables the court to vary the distribution of the deceased’s estate for certain family members and dependants.
The Inheritance Act 1975 does not require the merits of the claimant's case to be considered. The crucial question is whether or not, looked at objectively, the will (or the intestacy) failed to make “reasonable financial provision” for the claimant in all the circumstances of the case.
An objective assessment of financial provision is required and, having carried out this assessment, what provision to make, where reasonable financial provision has not been made.
Spouse or civil partners are entitled to such financial provision as is reasonable in all the circumstances, ‘whether or not that provision is required for his or her maintenance’.
There is a strict time limit in which to bring a claim of 6 months from the date of grant of representation.
The type of awards that the court can make include the redistribution of assets within the estate provision for educations costs and lump sum payments.
For more information, please contact Mohammed Hafiaz on 0844 567 2222 or via email: Mohammed Hafiaz