Make A Claim Against A Deceased’s Estate

If the deceased dies and has not made proper provision for their loved ones then we can help!

Seeking help and assistance from a firm of specialist solicitors like ourselves is often the right thing to do.

We can help you sort out the legal side of things quickly, easily and at low cost.

Please call us for a free no obligation chat on 0800 3 10 11 12

Welcome to our web page relating to making a claim against a deceased’s estate.

None of us likes to think about death too much and, as a result, many of us don’t get around to making a will or updating it to meet changing circumstances of life. Sadly, there are occasions when a person dies and it is clear that they have not made proper provision for their loved ones in their will. That can obviously lead to there being some challenging and difficult conversations between the people who are technically legally entitled to the deceased’s estate and those who are morally entitled to the deceased’s estate. These situations can be confusing, stressful and time-consuming. It’s not easy having the hassle of trying to working your way through these difficulties and getting stressed over what to do and how to do it.

We Can Help!

If a loved one dies and has not made proper provision for their loved ones then we can help!  Seeking help and assistance from a firm of specialist solicitors like ourselves is often the right thing to do.

Fixed Fee Initial Advice

If you would like help and advice in relation to whether you can make a claim simply call us free on 0800 3 10 11 12 or telephone 01536 276300 and ask for Adrian or Mandy at our Corby office or 01536 311690 and ask for James or John at our Kettering office. We would be delighted to initially assess whether your circumstances and potential claim is one that we can help you with. This is only a quick, initial chat over the phone. Normally in order for us to fully and properly advise you, we need to arrange a meeting for usually one hour on a fixed fee interview. This can be either face-to-face or over the phone through FaceTime or WhatsApp.The cost for the initial assessment is £200 + vat making a total of £240.00.

Free Probate & Estates Information Guide

We offer a free no obligation guide called “How to Administer a Loved One’s Estate”. It covers obtaining grants of probate in England and Wales. It’s packed with useful information and hints and tips on what to do. So if you are not sure about what to do at the moment, and simply want some further information, download our free information guide.

Caring Friendly Service

At Seatons we are known as “the friendly professionals” and we care about you. We are here to provide a sympathetic, helpful and friendly service to help guide you through the legal complexities at this difficult time.

Invalid Will

If the deceased left a will then it might be possible to try and argue that the will is invalid in some way. This could be by arguing any of the following:

  1. 18 (unless Privileged) – The deceased was under 18 when they made the will.
  2. Mental capacity – The deceased did not have sufficient mental capacity to make a will.
  3. Intention to make a will – The deceased did not actually intend to make a will to apply on death.
  4. Know and approve contents – The deceased did not know or approve of the contents of the will.
  5. No Undue influence – There was pressure and undue influence placed on the deceased to make the will.
  6. Free from fraud or forgery – The will is a forgery.
  7. S.9 WILLS ACT 1837 – The legal formalities to make a will were not complied with.

Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975 Claim

If somebody makes a Will or not, it is possible for their family and dependents to make a claim under what is known as the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975. The Act provides protection and allows a spouse, children and other dependents to claim against an estate for dependency in the event of not being included in the Will or not being provided for under the laws of intestacy. The Court needs to consider whether the deceased has left a fair share of the family assets. This is assessed depending on a number of important factors.

Eligibility

The Act states that a Spouse or Cohabitee or Child or other person maintained by the deceased can potentially make a claim. The Applicant must be alive to claim and if they die then their personal representatives cannot continue with a claim.

The categories of persons who can potentially claim are as follows:

SPOUSE/CIVIL PARTNER S1 (1) (a)

FORMER SPOUSE/CIVIL PARTNER S1 (1) (b)

COHABITEE LIVING TWO YEARS > SAME HOUSEHOLD & AS SPOUSE OF DECEASED (Post-1996) S1 (1)

CHILD S1 (1) (c)

PERSON TREATED AS CHILD (Post 2014) S1 (1) (d)

PERSON WHO WAS MAINTAINED BY THE DECEASED IMMEDIATELY BEFORE DEATH S1 (1) (e)

Reasonable Financial Provision

The courts take an objective approach to assess whether the Provision for the applicant is Reasonable. Factors the court might take into account include:

The facts of the case at the hearing;

The deceased’s reasons;

Changes in the Beneficiaries’ circumstances.

Two Standards

There are two different standards that are applied as follows:

SPOUSE > REASONABLE FINANCIAL PROVISION in all the circumstances whether or not provision is required for maintenance

OTHERS > Reasonable financial provision for their maintenance only (In manner suitable to circumstances)

There is a two-stage process ADAMS V LEWIS (2001)

  1. Did the TESTATOR FAIL TO MAKE REASONABLE PROVISION (Using S3)?
  2. HOW TO ASSESS THE PROVISION.

Conditions

The deceased must be domiciled in England and Wales;

There is also a SIX MONTH time limit from the date of issue of the GRANT of Representation in which to make a claim.

Common Guidelines for all Applicants

Various common guidelines for all applicants include the following:

FINANCIAL > Balancing Resources and Needs of All Persons with a claim against the estate;

MORAL Obligations to all claimants;

SIZE & NATURE of the ESTATE;

MENTAL & PHYSICAL DISABILITY taking into account DWP Benefits;

ANY OTHER MATTER > Conduct, Statement from Deceased.

Spouse Civil Partner Claims – Additional Guidelines s3(2)

Additional guidelines for spouse and civil partner claims include the following:

AGE of Applicant;

MARRIAGE Duration;

FINANCIAL CONTRIBUTIONS to the WELFARE of FAMILY;

DIVORCE PROVISION Expected’

DISCRETION > Divorce/Judicial Separation/Nullity > 12 Months of Death & No Financial Provision.

Cohabitee Claims

In order to succeed with a claim, a cohabitee must have lived with Deceased for at least Two Years Before Death

Factors the court will consider:

> AGE of Applicant;

> PERIOD LIVED TOGETHER;

> CONTRIBUTION by Applicant to WELFARE of Deceased and Family.

Considerations for Children

Factors to consider for children include the following:

TYPE OF EDUCATION;

EXTENT OF MAINTENANCE;

Whether Deceased ASSUMED RESPONSIBILITY;

Whether it was INTENDED TO CONTINUE AFTER DEATH;

What BASIS for Assuming Responsibility;

LENGTH OF TIME Responsibility had taken place.

Child of the Family

If a person was TREATED as CHILD OF FAMILY then the court will CONSIDER:

> Manner of EDUCATION;

> Deceased Assume RESPONSIBILITY for Maintenance;

> Period of TIME;

> Deceased KNEW Applicant was his child;

> Liability of Any OTHER PERSON for Maintenance.

Person Maintained by Deceased

If the deceased made a substantial contribution to that person’s REASONABLE NEEDS, then a claim might be viable. However, full commercial CLAIMS are barred.

The court considers:

> Contribution & Length of Maintenance;

> Deceased Assumed Responsibility for Maintenance.

If there is no evidence of responsibility, then the claim will fail.

In order to claim against an estate, children must have been maintained by the deceased prior to death. If they can prove this, they are entitled to reasonable provision for their maintenance. This does not include a share of the family assets.

A claim against an estate must be brought within 6 months of a Grant of Probate being issued. However, the Court does have the power to admit late applications in exceptional circumstances. To prevent an estate being distributed, a caveat can be lodged which prevents the Grant of Probate from being issued for 6 months. Alternatively, a Standing Search can be made to obtain details of every Grant of Probate issued in the past 12 months and in the next 6 months.

Costs

It is expensive and time-consuming to make a claim against an estate and expert legal advice is strongly recommended. Please call us on 01536 276300 for a free, no-obligation chat and receive a quote.

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Adrian Chambers - Seatons Solicitors

Probate & Estate Specialists

I’m Adrian Chambers and specialise in Probate and Estate matters. We aim to provide our clients with an outstanding legal service.

We will help and support you and most importantly we work hard for you.

If you need help administering a loved one’s estate, please click here for further information.

For information about our costs on probate work please click here.

Please contact us for a free, no obligation chat on 01536 276300 or contact us online.

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