|Telephone: 0800 999 4437|
Generally speaking, we are all free to dispose of our assets as we want to. However, the law does provide protection for people who have been financially dependant on the deceased. This protection comes in the shape of the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975; known as the Inheritance Act.
The Inheritance Act is there to help spouses, children, civil partners, cohabitees and other surviving dependants who have been left to cope without sufficient money to enable them to get by. If a will (or intestacy) fails to make 'reasonable financial provision' then the Inheritance Act will come into play.
In order to bring a claim you must satisfy the Court that you are entitled to make the claim. The Act states that the following must apply:
The Court has to consider whether 'reasonable financial provision' has already been made for you. The extent and meaning of 'reasonable financial provision' has to be decided by the Court and is different according to your status.
Under the Inheritance Act, the court will take into account the applicant's needs and resources and consider these against what would be reasonable for their maintenance. The Court will look at the following matters as set out in section 3(1) of the 1975 Act:
Claims by spouses and civil partners are different as the court will look beyond what is necessary purely for maintenance and will take a number of other factors into consideration such as:
Section 2 of the Act enables the Court to make any one or more of the following orders:-
This firm advises both individual claimants wishing to make a claim for adequate financial provision and beneficiaries who want to defend their interests under a disputed will.
We firmly believe that Inheritance Act disputes should wherever possible be mediated outside of a court environment. We embrace all types of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) as a more speedy, cost-effective option to court.
If you are considering a claim under the Inheritance Act, it is essential that you seek specialist advice at the earliest opportunity. Remember, Inheritance Act claims must be brought within 6 months of the Grant of Representation to the estate. If you have already left it too long we may still be able to help, as long as you act quickly.
For information of users: This material is published for the information of clients. It provides only an overview of the regulations in force at the date of publication, and no action should be taken without consulting the detailed legislation or seeking professional advice. Therefore no responsibility for loss occasioned by any person acting or refraining from action as a result of the material can be accepted by the authors or the firm.