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Inheritance Act Claims

Unjust _86916251We are often asked if there is anything that can be done if a Will or the Intestacy rules fail to make adequate provision for a dependant.

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 Act 1975.

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.  

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.  Section 3 of the Inheritance Act sets out a range of factors that have to be taken into account.  However, 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:

  • The age of the person making the Inheritance Act claim
  • The duration of the marriage
  • The contribution to the welfare of the family that has been made by the person bringing the Inheritance Act claim
  • The provision that the person bringing the Inheritance Act claim might reasonably have expected to receive if the marriage had been terminated by divorce

We advise both individual claimants wishing to make a claim for adequate financial provision and beneficiaries who want to defend their interests under a disputed Will.

If you are considering a claim under the Inheritance Act, it is essential that you seek specialist advice at the earliest opportunity. Inheritance Act claims must be brought within 6 months of the grant of representation to the estate.

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