Inheritance Act Claims: Who Can Make a Claim?

Author:
John Lambe
Contentious Probate Solicitor
Date:
18/08/2020

Different people can make a claim against an Estate under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act depending on their relation to the person who died. But to do so, they must meet certain criteria, which we explain below.  

Making an Inheritance Act claim can feel stressful, especially when you’re already dealing with the loss of a loved one. Our Contentious Probate Solicitors are specialists in dealing with disputes over Wills, contesting a Will and Inheritance Act Claims. Our expert team are here to help you and will handle your case with the utmost care and sensitivity.

But strict time limits do apply if you want to make an Inheritance Act Claim, so it’s best to contact our Contentious Probate Solicitors for free initial legal advice as soon as possible. Ask if we can deal with your case on a No Win, No Fee basis.

Call us on 08002605010 or request a callback and we will help you.

Why Make an Inheritance Act Claim?

There are 3 reasons why you might want to make a claim under the Inheritance Act. They are because:

  • You’ve been left out of a Will entirely
  • You’ve not been left as much as you expected or need
  • Or the person who died didn’t leave a Will

Who Can Apply to Claim against an Estate? 

In England and Wales, if you fall into one of the following categories, you may be eligible to make an Inheritance Act Claim: 

A Spouse or Civil Partner 

A current spouse or civil partner of the person who died can make a claim under the Inheritance Act if they weren’t reasonably provided for.

A Former Spouse or Civil Partner 

In some cases, an ex-spouse or civil partner can make a claim, but they can only do so if:

  • They’ve not remarried or entered into a new civil partnership
  • There’s no clause within the terms of divorce that prevents them from making a claim under the Inheritance Act

A Cohabitee

For a cohabitee to make a claim, they must:

  • Have lived in the same house as the person who died for at least two years before their death
  • Have lived with them as if they were their spouse or civil partner

A Child of the Person who Died

Both biological and adopted children can make a claim, no matter what age they are.

Someone Who was Treated as if They Were their Child 

If someone was treated as if they were a child of the person who died, they could still make a claim against the Estate under the Inheritance Act. For example, they might be the child of the living spouse or civil partner.

A Dependent

Someone who was partly or wholly maintained by the deceased before they died could make a claim. But to do so, they have to show that the person who died was making a substantial contribution towards their needs as a dependent.

If you’re unsure whether or not you fit into one of the above categories, get in touch with one of our Contentious Probate Solicitors who can advise you.

How Long do I Have to Make an Inheritance Act Claim?

If there was a Will in place when the person died, you have 6 months from the date of the Grant of Probate to make a claim. If there wasn’t a Will, you have 6 months from the date of the Grant of Letters of Administration to make one.

These time limits are fixed, so it’s really important that you don’t miss this deadline if you need to make a claim against the Estate. If you’re unsure where to start, our Contentious Probate Solicitors can help you begin the process.

What is the Inheritance Act Claims Process? 

  1. Get in touch with a Contentious Probate Solicitor, who will let you know if you’re eligible to make a claim.
  2. If you are, we can help you start a Court claim within the 6 months of the date of Grant of Probate or Grant of Letters of Administration time limit.
  3. The Court will then look at your case to assess whether or not reasonable financial provision has been made. They’ll consider your current and future financial resources and what your needs are. Other factors such as the size of the Estate and any physical and mental disabilities will also be taken into account.
  4. For a spouse or civil partner, the Court may look at your age, the length of your marriage or civil partnership, and your contribution to the home and family.
  5. If the Court accepts your claim, you’ll either be awarded a lump sum or regular, smaller payments. 

Our Contentious Probate Solicitors can help you every step of the way. We understand that making a claim against the Estate is an emotional time, so we always aim to make the process as smooth as possible.

For free legal advice call our Contentious Probate Solicitors

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