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Inheritance Act Claims
Where someone feels they have not been provided with a reasonable inheritance following the death of a close relative, they may sometimes be eligible to bring a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975.
An Inheritance Act claim can allow dependants of the deceased to claim an inheritance from the estate if they were unhappy with the inheritance they were left, were excluded from the Will entirely or feel they lost out under the rules of intestacy where there was no Will.
Our Contentious Probate team have many years of experience with bringing and defending Inheritance Act claims, as well as dealing with various other types of Will and probate disputes. We can therefore advise you on whether a claim has merit and the best strategies for securing a positive outcome for you and your loved ones.
Our solicitors can then support you through the entire process of making or defending an Inheritance Act claim, helping you to achieve an out-of-court settlement wherever possible so you can resolve the issue faster, at lower cost and with less conflict.
To find out more about making or defending an Inheritance Act claim, please contact our contentious probate solicitors in Alresford, Sunningdale or Winchester. Alternatively, you can get in touch by filling in our online enquiry form.
How Inheritance Act claims work
Who can make an Inheritance Act claim?
The people who may apply to make an Inheritance Act claim are:
- the spouse of the deceased
- a former spouse who has not remarried
- a child of the deceased
- anyone else who was treated as a child of the family by the deceased in respect of any marriage of theirs
- anyone else who was being maintained, either wholly or partly, by the deceased immediately before their death
Is there a time limit for Inheritance Act claims?
You will typically need to bring an Inheritance Act claim within 6 months of probate being granted, however, there are circumstances where you may be able to make a claim outside of this time limit.
As well as time limits, there are important considerations over jurisdiction and other potential issues, so if you think you have a possible claim you should take advice as quickly as possible.
What is ‘reasonable financial provision’?
Reasonable financial provision for a spouse is ‘such financial provision as it would be reasonable in all the circumstances of the case for a husband or wife to receive’. It is not limited to maintenance.
For all other applicants, however, reasonable financial provision is limited to maintenance. What is considered ‘maintenance’ will depend on the circumstances, but may cover such things as living costs, school or university fees and other considerations.
How are Inheritance Act claims resolved?
If court proceedings are required to resolve an Inheritance Act claim, there are various criteria a court may apply when deciding what, if any, provision to make from the estate to the claimant.
In deciding Inheritance Act cases involving the spouse of the deceased, the Court considers a checklist of relevant factors similar to that which is used in divorce cases. A useful starting point is to consider what the outcome would have been if the couple had divorced before the deceased died.
However, many cases can be resolved through an out-of-court settlement agreed between the various beneficiaries and potential beneficiaries of the estate. This is often in everyone’s best interests as it can allow the matter to be resolved faster while keeping relations between the parties more positive, as well as avoiding a significant portion of the estate being expended on legal fees.
Our expertise with Inheritance Act claims & contentious probate
We offer strong expertise in both Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and court proceedings, meaning we can offer the best approach to match your circumstances and priorities. In most cases, we are able to resolve these complex matters through an out-of-court settlement, saving you time and money, as well as minimising any negative emotional fall out for you and your family.
Taylor Fordyce is independently regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), providing assurance that we continually meet the highest legal and professional standards.
Speak to our Inheritance Act claims solicitors now
If you need clear, practical advice on making or defending an Inheritance Act claim or dealing with any other type of Wills and inheritance dispute, please get in touch with our expert contentious probate lawyers across Southern England by using the links below.