You may have found out that you have been left out of a Will. You may believe that the Will itself is valid, but you wish to know what your rights are about claiming from the Estate.
On an application under Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, the judge can allow for the redistribution of assets to produce a fair result. Every case is different and the Court will look at your relationship to the deceased, how you were maintained by the deceased and what circumstances you present to justify a provision to be made to you.
The courts will look at what is “reasonable financial provision” and therefore how much, if anything, you receive is at the discretion of the court.
The specific factors that the court must consider by law are as follows:-
•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 for an order under the Inheritance Act from the estate of the deceased 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 for an order or towards any beneficiary of his estate;
•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;
•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.
In cases where the applicant is a spouse or civil partner, the court must also consider those factors given weight within divorce proceedings, such as the length of the marriage, or civil partnership, the contributions made by the parties to the family’s welfare and the age of the applicant.
There is a strict time limit to bringing this application. A claim must be brought within 6 months of the Grant of Probate being obtained. Only in exceptional circumstances can you apply for permission to bring a claim outside the time limit.
You should bear in mind that the legal costs will not necessarily be met from the Estate. Again, this is a discretion of the Court.
Our experts can discuss your case with you and assess the merits against previous cases which have been successful. If you have a claim, we will help you with it.
Mrs D: “thank you for helping with my claim which would have otherwise gone to my husband’s children.