How to make an Inheritance Act claim
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:
- Spouses or civil partners
- Former spouses or civil partners
- Cohabitees who had lived with the deceased for two years
- Financial dependants
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.