A recent article has reported that there has been a marked rise in claims being brought against estates. These claims are mainly being made under the provisions of the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 whereby claimants argue that they have not received reasonable financial provision from an estate.
There are several categories of applicants, but with the impact of the pandemic, it appears that numbers of adult children applicants are on the rise. Cases are considered by the Courts as to whether reasonable financial provision has been made and, if not, whether the applicant has a need for maintenance. Generally speaking, the court considers; the section three factors of the act, such as the applicant’s needs and resources, other parties/applicants’ competing needs, any obligation owed by the deceased, medical needs and behaviour.
When the Will was originally drawn up by the deceased they may have anticipated that the child’s financial circumstances were such that they did not need additional provision. Following the pandemic, though, a lot more people are struggling financially and, no doubt, this has led to the increase in claims. A financial need which might not have existed prior to the pandemic might now have increased as a result of a job loss, reduction in income for the self-employed, housing need and increase in debts.
More so now than ever, this highlights the importance of obtaining the appropriate advice concerning any possible claims which could arise against your estate when preparing your Will and considering your succession planning.
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