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The Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 (“the 1975 Act”) allows for certain classes of individuals to bring a claim for reasonable financial provision from an estate of a deceased person, where it was not otherwise provided.

Our experienced Inheritance Act specialists can advise you if you wish to make a claim for provision from the estate of a deceased person.

Contact us for a no obligation discussion about your matter.

We also advise personal representatives defending estates against Inheritance Act claims.

Who can bring a claim under the 1975 Act?

The 1975 Act sets out those individuals who are able to bring a claim, namely:

  • The spouse or civil partner of the deceased;
  • The former spouse or civil partner of the deceased (provided that person has not remarried/entered into a subsequent civil partnership);
  • A person who was living with the deceased as spouse or civil partner for the two years prior to the deceased’s death;
  • A child of the deceased;
  • A person who was treated as a child by the deceased; and
  • Any other person who was being maintained by the deceased prior to their death.

What provision can be claimed for under the 1975 Act?

The provision which can be claimed by an applicant is dependent upon who is bringing the claim.

A spouse or civil partner of the deceased is entitled to bring a claim under the 1975 Act for what is reasonable in all the circumstances of the case for a spouse or civil partner to receive.

For those remaining eligible persons listed above, the 1975 Act states that they are able to make a claim for such financial provision as would be reasonable for the applicant to receive for their maintenance.

The distinction therefore being that claims brought by any eligible person who is not the spouse or civil partner of the deceased is limited to only what is necessary for their maintenance, and not what is reasonable in all the circumstances.

What does the court take into account when deciding if a person will be successful in their claim?

When exercising its power under the 1975 Act the court must have regard to the following factors listed in section 3 of the act:

  • The financial resources and financial needs which the applicant has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future;
  • The financial resources and financial needs which any other applicant has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future;
  • The financial resources and financial needs which any beneficiary of the estate of the deceased has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future;
  • Any obligations and responsibilities which the deceased had towards any applicant or towards any beneficiary of the estate of the deceased;
  • The size and nature of the net estate of the deceased;
  • Any physical or mental disability of any applicant or any beneficiary of the estate of the deceased;
  • Any other matter, including the conduct of the applicant or any other person, which in the circumstances of the case the court may consider relevant.

An applicant will provide a detailed case using each of the above factors to formulate an argument as to why the estate should provide reasonable provision for them, and why in the current circumstances it has not done so.

A defendant will similarly use the above factors to demonstrate that reasonable financial provision was provided and/ or that the applicant does not require further provision for their maintenance.

Is there a time limit to bring a claim?

Those who wish to bring a claim under the 1975 Act must do so within 6 months of the letters of administration or grant of probate being extracted.

In some exceptional circumstances the court may allow applicants to bring a claim outside of the 6-month period. The decision of whether a claim will be permitted outside of the 6-month period is at the discretion of the court. We therefore recommended that if you believe you have a claim under the 1975 Act that you seek legal advice as soon as possible.

What awards can the court make?

The court has a wide discretion to make a number of awards which include transferring property, allowing an applicant to remain living in the deceased’s property for a number of years, or even their lifetime, a capital sum of money or periodical payments.

Defending a claim under the 1975 Act

An executor has certain obligations to the court to provide information about an estate which is subject to a claim under the 1975 Act. If an Executor is not a beneficiary then they will be expected to remain neutral, if they fail to do so the court may make a costs order against them.

A beneficiary of an estate can choose to actively defend the claim or to remain neutral. There can be different cost implications depending upon what decision is made and therefore early advice focusing on tactical analysis of the case can assist in an early resolution.

How can we help?

If you think you may have a claim against an estate or you are facing a potential claim against an estate seeking legal advice as early as possible will provide you with the greatest chance of successfully bringing or defending a claim in the most cost and time efficient manner.

Our specialist Contentious Trust and Probate Team have extensive experience in acting for those bringing and defending claims under the 1975 Act.

Complete the form below to speak to a member of our team who will be in touch to discuss your case.

Key Contact

James Wallace

James Wallace

Contentious Trusts and Probate Partner


James is a Partner in the firm and leads the dedicated Contentious Trusts and Probate team. He deals with complex and high value estate and trust disputes including those with a cross-border or overseas element.

Vlad Macdonald-Munteanu

Vlad Macdonald-Munteanu

Contentious Trusts & Probate Senior Associate Solicitor

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Jemma Land

Jemma Land

Contentious Trusts & Probate Associate Solicitor

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Rebecca Beaman

Rebecca Beaman

Contentious Trusts & Probate Solicitor

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