Make an Inheritance Act Claim

If you have recently lost a close relative, or have been named executor of their estate, it is important to have a basic

knowledge of probate law in order to understand and implement your rights lawfully and effectively.

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 on Making an Inheritance Act Claim Against an Estate.  We hope you find this information of use.  We are a firm who specialise in dealing with probate and estate administration work.  At Seatons, we offer a helpful and friendly service with low fees that provide exceptional value for money.  Please call us today for a free, no-obligation internet chat or use our online enquiry form.

Make A Claim Against An Estate

If you have recently lost a close relative, or have been named as an executor of their estate, it is important to have a basic knowledge of probate law in order to understand and implement your rights lawfully and effectively. This guide will provide you with a brief summary of the rules and instances when Inheritance Act claims against an estate can be made.

Inheritance Provision for Family & Dependants Act 1975

If you make a will, you can give your estate away in whatever way you think fit. There is an exception to this however. The Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 provides protection and allows a spouse, children and other dependants to claim against an estate for dependency in the event of not being included in the will. The Court needs to consider whether the deceased left a fair share of the family assets.

Eligibility

Any person wanting to make a claim must be alive.  If the person dies, then their Personal Representatives cannot continue with their claim.  There are various different categories of potential claimants.  These include the following:-

  1. Spouse/Civil Partner
  2. Former Spouse/Civil Partner
  3. Cohabitee living 2 years in the same household.
  4. Child or person treated as a child.
  5. Person maintained immediately before death.
Reasonable Financial Provision

The test as to whether a claim will be successful is dependent on whether the provision that has been made for the Applicant is reasonable.  This is an objective approach and is assessed based on the facts of the case, the testator’s reasons and any change in the beneficiary’s circumstances.

Two Standards

There are two standards that need to be considered, as follows:-

  1. Spouse

The test here is for reasonable financial provision in all the circumstances whether or not provision is required for maintenance.

  1. Other Claimants

The test is reasonable financial provision for their maintenance alone in a manner suitable to their circumstances.

Conditions

The applicant must be domiciled in England and Wales.

The application must be submitted six months from the date of the Grant.

Common Guidelines for all Applicants

There are certain factors that the court will take into account in relation to all applicants.  These include the following:-

  1. Financial – in terms of balancing resources and the needs of all persons with the claim against the estate.
  2. Moral obligations to all Claimants.
  3. The size and nature of the estate.
  4. Mental and physical disability.
  5. Any other matters such as conduct or statement from the Deceased.
Spouse/Civil Partner Additional Guidelines

There are additional guidelines which take into account the spouse or civil partner including the age of the applicant, the duration of the marriage, financial contributions to the welfare of the family, whether divorce provision is expected. Of course, the application will be assessed at the court’s discretion.

Cohabitee Claims

For a cohabitee to claim, they must have cohabited with the deceased for the two years immediately before death.  The court consider the age of the applicant, the period they have lived together and the contribution by the applicant to the welfare of the deceased and family.

Claims For Children

The court will take into account the type of education the child has received, the extent of any maintenance including whether the deceased assumed responsibility for the child’s maintenance and whether it was intended to continue after death. It will also consider what the basis was for the deceased assuming responsibility and for what length of time the deceased had taken responsibility for the child.

Furthermore, the court will take into account whether the deceased treated the child as a child of the family and consider the manner of the child’s education, whether the deceased assumed responsibility for the child’s maintenance, over what period of time, whether the deceased knew the applicant was his child and the liability of any other person for the child’s maintenance.

Persons Maintained by the Deceased

It is possible for other persons who were partly or wholly maintained by the deceased prior to death to include common-law wives and mistresses.  If they can prove their dependency to the deceased they may also be entitled to make a claim.  The court will consider to what extent the deceased made contributions to that person’s reasonable needs, the length of maintenance and whether the deceased assumed responsibilities for maintenance.

Court Orders

If the Applicant is successful, then the court will make an order against the net estate of the deceased. There are different types of orders a court can make including periodical payments, lump sums, settlements, property acquisition or variations of existing settlements.

Time Limits

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.

Latest Probate & Estates Video
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.

Probate & Estate Administration Podcasts
Latest Articles About Probate & Estate Matters

Aristocrats Daughter Refused Bigger Share of £1.3million Estate

Wills can and often are challenged by dependents who think they should have received more from an estate than they get and in this case bought before a court, a daughter thought she should have a larger share of her aristocrat father’s £1.3 million estate.

Want to Cut Inheritance Tax Liabilities? Contact Us Today!

Giving away assets to your loved ones with warm hands, when you are still fit and healthy, is a readily available means of reducing Inheritance Tax (IHT) liabilities.

Heir Hunter Faces A £250,000 Bill For Bad Behaviour

Heir hunters are a valuable resource to find beneficiaries of an estate if the person has died without leaving a Will. It should be remembered that these companies are not regulated...

Family Companies – It’s Never Too Soon to Start Estate Planning

Estate planning is essential when there is a family business to prevent tax problems in the untimely death of a shareholder as this following High Court case demonstrates.
Generic filters
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Search in excerpt
Filter by Custom Post Type
Why Use Seatons?
  • Practical sensible help and information
  • Fixed, competitive and affordable prices
  • We care about you and fight for you
  • Regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority
  • We can help resolve your issue quickly & easily

Download our FREE guide to

Administering A Loved One’s Estate today

Free Downloadable Guide To Care Fee Funding

Download our FREE guide

for the over 60’s today

Download Our Free Guide For The Over 60s now