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Can I make an Inheritance Act claim?

Posted on 25th January 2022 in Dispute Resolution, Later Life Planning

Posted by

Martin Laver

Partner and Solicitor
Can I make an Inheritance Act claim?

When a loved one dies, it can be distressing to learn that their Will did not sufficiently provide for you. These can often be complicated circumstances, but it could be because of the size of the estate, the gift, or whether or not the person died without a Will.


What is a sufficient provision?

You may have heard the term 'reasonable financial provision'', but what does this mean? Simply put, this is the term used by the Inheritance Act to describe;

  • what you require from an estate based on your own financial situation.
  • what is in the estate.
  • who else might have an expectation from the estate.

The Inheritance Act looks to protect those who were dependant upon the deceased, and would suffer a detriment to their daily life without the continuing support they once enjoyed.


Who can make an Inheritance Act claim?

A claim under the Inheritance Act is usually brought by the most closely affected parties, such as children, spouses, and other family members. A person who has been living with the deceased for a period of two years just before their death has been left out of the will, or not adequately provided for, may also be able to bring a claim.

Spouses/civil partners of the deceased are not limited to maintenance where 'reasonable financial provision' is concerned, and the courts sometimes look at what might have happened in a divorce. This is predicated on the general understanding of an equality of assets from the marriage, which should be reflected in the award – and may change accordingly.

Other claimants who are not spouses are limited to 'reasonable financial provision' for their maintenance. This means looking at what your income and expenses are, and what you might need for the future.


How can you make an Inheritance Act claim?

A claim may be made under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, more commonly known as the Inheritance Act; in order to receive a fair share of the will. This is permitted where the Court decides that what you are currently receiving is not sufficient in the circumstances.

Each claim is considered on its own merits and so there is no “one size fits all” answer to the question.  Instead, the Court will look carefully at your position, the estate and the other parties involved in the claim. It will also take account of any disabilities you or another potential claimant might have when make a decision. There is no maximum award size and this has led to some notably large awards in the case of very wealthy individuals.

All cases are different and considering all relevant information as to the circumstances of your case is critical in deciding whether or not to pursue a claim.  We have the expertise to assist you in forming a view of any potential claim you might have.


Find out more

For help with dispute resolution, including disputed Wills, as well as deputies and attornies, please visit our dedicated Dispute Resolution page.

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