Family Law Guide

Guide to inheritance act claims

Guide to inheritance act claims

Under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 (“the Act”) certain people can bring a claim against a deceased persons estate whether or not there is a will.

Who can claim?

The following people can bring a claim under the Act:

a) A spouse or former spouse of the deceased if they have not remarried;

b) A dependant child of the deceased;

c) A person who has cohabited with the deceased for two years before death;

d) Anyone who was dependent on the deceased at the time of death.

If you fall within one of these categories or you are a personal representative of an estate which is the subject of a claim from one of the categories, please see  How Vardags can help with inheritance act claims.

How can a spouse or former spouse bring a claim?

The key question is has the deceased left reasonable financial provision for a spouse or former spouse whom he or she has divorced. The Act lists a number of factors that have to be taken into account including:

a) The resources and needs of the claimant, any other possible claimant and the current beneficiaries of the estate;

b) The obligations and responsibilities of the deceased;

c) the size and nature of the estate;

d) any physical or mental disability the claimant has;

e) any other matter relevant such as the conduct of the claimant.

Generally awards under the Act have followed divorce awards, but recent case law such as the Lilleyman case has raised doubts about this approach. However it is true that the court will consider factors such as the age of the claimant and the duration of the marriage. Furthermore if further assets are unlocked by death that were not anticipated at the time of the divorce then a court will take this into account.

If you are currently receiving maintenance from a former spouse and you are concerned about what will happen on death please contact us now.

How can a child make a claim?

A court will look at whether the deceased has left reasonable financial provision for a child’s maintenance. This will include such factors as what provision there is for the child’s education or training before earning his own living. If an adult beneficiary who is able to earn a living wishes to claim there must be a special circumstance, which is usually a moral obligation

Cohabiting or maintained by the deceased?

If you have lived with the deceased for two years before he or she died then you may be able to contest the will or claim that the intestacy rules should be overruled. This will depend on the level of maintenance and what the court would consider to award you in view of all the circumstances.

If you would like to bring a claim, or are interested in discussing inheritance act claims, please see How Vardags can help with inheritance act claims.