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Inheritance Act Claims

The Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, often referred to as the Inheritance Act, allows you to bring a claim for provision from a deceased person’s estate if you don’t feel the Will or terms of intestacy make reasonable financial provision for you.

Our experienced Inheritance Act specialists can advise you if you wish to make a claim for provision from the estate of a deceased person. We also advise personal representatives defending estates against Inheritance Act claims.

The time limits for bringing an Inheritance Act claim are strict: the claim must be brought within six months of a grant of representation being issued in the deceased’s estate. It’s possible to ask the court if you can bring a claim outside this time limit, but your request will not be granted unless there is a good reason for the delay.

To pursue a claim, you must fall within one of the eligible categories in the Inheritance Act:
  • A former wife of husband or civil partner of the deceased who has not remarried
  • A person living in the same household as the deceased as their husband or wife or civil partner for two years immediately before the date the deceased died
  • A child of the deceased, including a child of a non-marital relationship or adopted child or unborn child
  • Any person (not being a child of the deceased) who, in the case of a marriage or civil partnership to which the deceased was at any time a party, was treated by the deceased as a child of the family in relation to that marriage or civil partnership
  • Any other person who immediately before the death of the deceased was being maintained by the deceased
  • The wife or husband or civil partner of the deceased

To be eligible, the deceased must have been legally domiciled in England and Wales when they died. The fact that someone was living overseas when they died, does not necessarily mean they were domiciled there. It’s common for people to live overseas but still be legally domiciled in England and Wales.

The claim is for reasonable financial provision. If you are a spouse or civil partner, this means such financial provision as it would be reasonable for you to receive in all circumstances, not only the amount needed for your maintenance.

For other claimants, it means such financial provision as would be reasonable for your maintenance. If you cannot demonstrate a clear need to be maintained from the deceased’s estate, your claim is unlikely to be successful.

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