In some circumstances, when someone dies their Will (or lack of a Will) results in a failure to make reasonable provision for those left behind who were financially dependant upon them before they died.
In those cases it can often be possible to bring a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.
Who can claim?
The Act does not allow everyone who thinks they should have been mentioned in a Will to bring a claim – only certain classes of dependants can claim which includes:
- A spouse or civil partner
- A former spouse or civil partner
- Someone who has cohabited with the deceased for at least 2 years prior to death
- Children of the deceased and those treated as children of the deceased by them
- Anyone else who was maintained by the deceased immediately before they died
Courts will not easily change the provisions of a Will but where it is agreed or decided that a Will (or intestacy) does not make reasonable financial provision for the applicant the Act allows an adjustment to be made.
In many cases, it will be clear that reasonable financial provision has not been made and it can be possible to negotiate an agreed adjustment to the Will or intestacy so that Court proceedings can be avoided.
In other cases, it will be necessary to issue Court proceedings.
How much will the provision be?
The provision that will be made for someone who was dependant and who brings a claim under the 1975 Act, is that which is “reasonable”: this will be different in each individual case and will depend also upon the needs of other beneficiaries under the Will or intestacy.
If you think you might have a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 you should act quickly.
A strict 6 month time limit applies from the date a Grant of Probate or Grant of Letters of Administration is issued by the Probate Registry. Only in extreme circumstances can that time limit be exceeded.
Why choose us? Our experience
Our Team have a wealth of experience in acting for clients wishing to bring and to defend claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. These include
- a claim brought by a co-habitee living in her late partner’s house, who would otherwise have been homeless when he died without making a Will and his Estate passed automatically to distant family members
- acting for children from a first marriage in defence of a claim by the deceased’s second wife for a larger share of his Estate
- acting for beneficiaries in an Estate where a dependency claim was made by the deceased’s co-habitee and agreeing terms for a small lump sum payment to be made rather than a life interest in property
The range of claims that may be brought or defended and the circumstances of each one are varied.
Speak to our expert Team today if you think that you may need to bring or defend a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. Call 0800 088 6004.
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