Inheritance Act 1975 Claims
If a person dies and does not include you in their Will, you may be entitled to make a claim against their Estate. These types of claims are made under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, and whether a person is able to make such a claim will depend on their relationship with the person who died, and whether they meet the criteria for making a claim. Our team of expert Probate solicitors have explained this, below.
Sadly, making a claim under the Inheritance Act can be incredibly stressful, especially if you don’t deal with something like that on a day-to-day basis. Our team of Probate Solicitors are well versed with the administration of Estates when a person passes away, and understand how confusing it can be when your loved one has not left you any provision in their Will. Our expert team can provide you with advice about whether you may be able to make a claim, and can guide you about what steps you need to take to get the ball rolling.
Before our team gets started explaining who can make a claim against an Estate, we would point out that there are strict time limits in place for making an Inheritance Act Claim, so we would always advise seeking legal advice as soon as you can after your loved one has died. With Inheritance Act Claims, you may wish to ask about “No Win, No Fee” agreements, and whether this is something that could apply to your claim.
Why make an Inheritance Act Claim?
There are three main reasons you may wish to make a claim against an Estate under the Inheritance Act. These are:
1) You have been completely excluded from someone’s Will
2) You have been left less than you expected or need from someone’s Estate
3) You have not received any inheritance under the rules of intestacy
Who can make a claim against an Estate?
In England and Wales, certain classes (or categories) of people can make a claim under the Inheritance Act. Below, our Probate Solicitors have explained these classes.
A Spouse / Civil Partner
If you are the spouse or civil partner of the deceased, you may be able to make a claim under the Inheritance Act if you were not reasonably provided for.
A former Spouse / Civil Partner
In some cases, ex spouses and civil partners may have standing to make a claim against the deceased’s Estate. However, if they have remarried or entered into a new civil partnership, or they have divorced and entered into an agreement which prevents them from making a claim, they will definitely not be able to.
If you lived with the deceased in the same house for at least two years prior to their death, as if you were their spouse or civil partner, you may be able to make a claim.
If the deceased was your parent, either biological or adopted, you could make a claim.
A person treated as a child
If someone was treated as a child of the deceased, they may be able to make a claim against the deceased’s Estate. For example, a step child, a child of a surviving civil partner, or a grandchild.
If you were partially or completely maintained by the deceased before they died, you may be able to make claim. You would need to show that the deceased made a substantial contribution to your needs, as a dependent.
How do I know whether I can make a claim?
If you are unsure whether you would fit into any of the categories enabling you to make a claim under the Inheritance Act, contact our expert Probate Solicitors who should be able to advise you of your eligibility to make a claim.
How long do I have to make an Inheritance Act claim?
If the person left a Will when they died, you have 6 months from the date that a Grant of Probate is issued to make a claim. If there is no Will left, you have 6 months from the Letters of Administration. Our Probate Solicitors have explained the differences between these two documents, here.
These time limits are fixed in law, and therefore, if you intend to make a claim, it’s really important to seek expert legal advice as soon as possible.
What is the process of an Inheritance Act Claim?
The first steps would always be to find out whether you are eligible to make a claim against the deceased’s Estate. If you are not, there is definitely no point moving forward and spending any money on the process. If you are, an expert Probate Solicitor can help you start the process. Again, as explained above, this must be done within 6 months of Probate being granted; either a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration.
Once the Court claim has been submitted, the Court will assess whether or not reasonable financial provision has already been made under the deceased’s Will or the rules of intestacy. They will consider factors such as your current or future financial circumstances compared to your needs. They will also need to take into account the value of the deceased’s Estate. For married couples or those in a civil partnership, they will consider the length of your marriage/ partnership, your age and your respective contributions to the home, family and marriage.
If your claim is accepted (I.e. is successful), you could be awarded a lump sum or regular payments, which are usually a smaller amount.
Probate Solicitors are generally used to dealing with these types of claims, and therefore the process outlined above is a simplified version of the full requirements of making a Claim under the Inheritance Act. There will be more required of the person claiming throughout the process, and that is why it is advisable to seek legal assistance to make a claim.