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How to make an Inheritance Act claim

17 March 2022 | Ken McEwan

This is the first in a series of articles about how the Inheritance Act works and how to make a claim. Ken McEwan, a specialist inheritance dispute solicitor, explains who can make a claim and the basic principles of the Inheritance Act.

Contesting a Will

If you have a reasonable expectation of being provided for but have been left out of a Will or do not inherit by intestacy, or if you do not receive what you think is fair, you might be able to make a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.

The first question is do you fall within the class of people entitled to make a claim? These include:

  1. Spouses or civil partners
  2. Children
  3. Former spouses or civil partners
  4. Cohabitees who had lived with the deceased for two years
  5. Financial dependants

Limited timeframe

Such claims must be brought within six months of the grant of probate. In limited circumstances the court may provide leave to apply after that time. You should seek urgent legal advice if you find yourself in such a position.

Going to court

A claim can be brought to provide “such financial provision as it would be reasonable in all the circumstances of the case for the applicant to receive for his maintenance” or in the case of a spouse the court will generally consider what the spouse would have obtained had they been divorced.

The court will consider the following factors:

  • The size of the estate
  • The financial needs and resources of the claimant and the other beneficiaries
  • The obligations owed to the claimant by the deceased
  • Any disabilities the claimant might have
  • The length of the relationship

Specialist legal advice

If you feel you have a claim you should seek legal advice as early as possible. It is important to remember that executors should as a rule adopt a neutral position unless they are a beneficiary also.

For an informal discussion about your situation please contact Ken McEwan by calling 0117 906 9400 or email

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.

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