Where someone has died without making proper provision in their Will for their relatives or dependants, the Inheritance Act gives the Court power to redistribute assets to produce a fair result.
Who can make an Inheritance Act claim?
The categories of people who can bring a claim under the Inheritance Act are:
- Husband / Wife / Civil Partner
- Former Husband / Wife / Civil Partner not remarried
- Partner not married and lived with deceased for 2 years immediately before death
- Child (whether biological or not)
- A person treated as a child of the deceased
- Any other person who was financially maintained or dependent on the deceased
If you are unsure whether you are eligible to make a claim, this is something we can review with you during an initial free telephone consultation.
When does the Inheritance Act apply?
If someone who is eligible to make a claim was not left reasonable financial provision by the deceased (whether or not the deceased left a will) then they may be able to make a claim.
How much can I claim?
There is no magic formula involved although certain factors must be taken into which are listed below. It must be remembered that each case is very different and will be judged on its own individual facts. We cannot predict exactly what would be awarded but we can advise you of the likelihood that the court will consider making an order, and a general idea of what you might be able to claim.
As well as financial awards the Inheritance Act also makes it possible for other non-financial settlements to be reached, for example the right to remain in a property for the rest of your life, or an order that a property be transferred to you.
What factors will be taken into account?
- Your financial needs and financial resources, both now and in the future
- The financial needs and resources of other people related to or connected to the deceased
- Any obligations and responsibilities which the deceased had towards you or other people
- The value of the estate
- The needs of anyone related to or connected to the deceased who has physical or mental disabilities
- Any other relevant matter, including the conduct of the deceased or others related or connected to the deceased
A very wide range of factors are taken into account and therefore it is essential that you take expert advice to ensure that you settle on the best terms.
Is there a time limit for making a claim?
Yes. The claim must be brought within 6 months of ‘Grant of probate’, this is when the personal representative who is handling the administration of the estate is given power to deal with the estate. You might not know this date, but we will be able to assist you in finding this date.
It is essential that you take advice as soon as possible to avoid missing the deadline.
Can I bring a claim after the deadline?
In some circumstances yes, but the amount of time that has passed is an important factor. It is therefore essential that you take action as soon as possible.
Will I have to go to Court?
The majority of Inheritance Act claims settle without the need for issuing Court proceedings. Often claims can be settled directly with the other parties involved and their solicitors.
Even if proceedings are issued at Court we usually resolve the dispute before the matter reaches a final hearing.
How can we help?
All of our will claims solicitors are experts and have extensive experience in making and defending Inheritance Act claims.
We offer a FREE 30 minute initial consultation and if you decide to make a claim we can offer a choice of funding including a NO WIN – NO FEE arrangement where appropriate.