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Inheritance Act Claims Frequently Asked Questions

The 1975 Act allows certain categories of claimant to make a claim for a reasonable financial provision from an estate.  The following people are entitled to make a claim under the UK Act:

  • A spouse or civil partner of the deceased;
  • A divorced spouse or a separated civil partner of the deceased, provided that they have not re-married or entered into a new civil partnership;
  • A person who lived with the deceased for a minimum of two years prior to their death;
  • A child of the deceased (including children over the age of 18);
  • Anyone who was treated as their child by the deceased person, including adopted children, fostered children, step children and so on;
  • Anyone being maintained by the deceased person prior to their death

Our Dispute Resolution team have extensive experience in both pursuing and defending 1975 Act claims and regularly act for both Claimants, beneficiaries and Executors in the High Court.  We will aim to identify your goals and the most effective ways of achieving your aims at the outset of your case.   We will try to resolve your case without the need for court proceedings wherever possible and we are skilled in all forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution (including mediation).

Are these types of dispute expensive?

As with any legal dispute, costs are a very important consideration and therefore these must be carefully discussed at the outset of a claim. Court proceedings can be very expensive but the vast majority of disputes reach a settlement without the need for a final court hearing.  We offer a number of different funding options to clients and will always seek to offer an appropriate method of funding a claim, together with regular costs updates as the claim progresses.

How long do claims take?

It is difficult to give an accurate timescale as each dispute is different and the timescale largely depends on whether an early resolution can be achieved.  If a settlement can be negotiated informally without legal proceedings being necessary then a typical dispute may be resolved in 3-6 months.

Is there a time limit for bringing an Inheritance Act claim?

Yes. There is a strict time limit of 6 months from the date of the Grant of Probate or Representation in which court proceedings must be commenced.  It is therefore very important that legal advice should be obtained as quickly as possible.

What is an Inheritance Act claim?

The Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 is a piece of legislation that allows certain categories of individuals to bring a claim against the deceased where ‘reasonable financial provision’ has not been made under the terms of the will or on the intestacy of the deceased. 

Who can make a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family & Dependants) Act 1975?

The following categories of persons are eligible to make a claim under the act: -

  • A current spouse or civil partner of the deceased;
  • A former spouse or civil partner of the deceased who has not remarried and who has not received a final settlement following the breakdown of the marriage or civil partnership;
  • Any person who, during the whole 2 year period immediately before the date of death, was living in the same household of the deceased in the manner of a spouse or civil partner;
  • Any child of the deceased including illegitimate, legitimated and adopted children of any age;
  • Any person treated by the deceased as a child of the marriage or civil partnership;
  • Any person not included above who was maintained wholly or partly by the deceased person prior to their death
Would I have to attend a court hearing if I pursue a claim?

Not necessarily.  Our objective in any dispute is to seek to a successful resolution as quickly and cost-effectively as possible.  This can include seeking to negotiate informally, attending a mediation and other methods of alternative dispute resolution.  The vast majority of disputes do not reach a final court hearing.

Talk to our team