Bringing a claim under the Inheritance Act
Posted on 25 June 2019 by Charlotte Dullaway
When someone close to you dies and does not provide for you either within their Will or under the Intestacy Rules you may wonder if there is anything you can do.
Whilst the starting point is that everyone is free to leave their property as they wish, the law recognises that sometimes those closest to you can let you down in death. Inheritance disputes are becoming increasingly common as people try to balance the needs and expectations of those closest to them.
You may find your circumstances change drastically when you lose someone, particularly if they had been providing for you financially prior to their death. If you find that you have not received what you expected or what you need, you may be able to pursue a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 (“the Inheritance Act”).
What can you do?
The Inheritance Act enables certain categories of people to bring a claim against estates which fail to make reasonable financial provision for them. The purpose of the claim is to seek to change the distribution of the estate to include the disappointed person. In effect, you are asking the Court to decide:
a) Whether you should have been provided for;
b) Whether the provision you have received (or lack thereof) is reasonable; and, if not
c) Whether further provision should be made.
If you are considering bringing a claim under the Inheritance Act you must act quickly after the death. You only have six months from the date of the Grant of Representation to bring a claim and so you should ensure you do not delay in taking advice.
Who can bring a claim?
Only certain people can bring a claim under the Inheritance Act. The categories of potential claimant are narrow and only the following people are able to bring claims:-
- Spouses or civil partners
- Former spouses or civil partners (in certain circumstances)
- Cohabitees (in certain circumstances)
- People treated as a child of the family
- Financially maintained people
How can we help?
Our specialist Dispute Resolution team are here to talk through your options and guide you through the litigation process in a compassionate and cost-effective manner.
We know that it can be difficult to find the funds for legal fees, especially when you are bringing a claim based upon being in financial need. We are therefore happy to consider acting on a no win no fee (CFA) basis in certain circumstances.
If you are considering bringing an Inheritance Act claim contact Charlotte Dullaway on 01823 446230 or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org to see how we can help today.