LEGAL EASE: My deceased loved one’s estate does not provide for me– what should I do?
Not everyone is happy with the Wills made by their loved ones or the effect of any intestacy (dying without making a Will).
The Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 (I(PFD)A 1975) allows certain individuals to make a claim for reasonable financial provision from the Estate of the deceased, even if the Will does not provide for them. However, certain criteria are required for a claim, including the deceased must have lived in England or Wales at the date of death.
Who can make a claim under the Act?
Former spouse/civil partner – subject to;
not remarrying/entering into a new civil partnership, and/or
provision was not made in their divorce/dissolution that restricts them from making a claim under I(PFD)A 1975.
Cohabitee - they must have lived in the same household and as the partner of the deceased for at least two years prior to death.
Child of the deceased (of any age) - includes adopted children and any person who was treated as a child of the deceased.
Dependant of the deceased - includes anyone that was maintained financially by the deceased and without their contribution may be financially less stable.
Are there any time limits?
Yes, claims under I(PFD)A 1975 must be made within six months of the Grant of Probate. A claim may be made after this time but only if there is good reason for the delay and with the court’s permission.
In a recent case a widow was allowed to bring an I(PFD)A 1975 claim 25 years late. However, this is rare, in a case around the same time the Court had refused to hear a widow’s Inheritance Act claim which had been made only 17 months late.
If a Will has not made provision for you, or no Will was made, given the time limits and that prospects of success are fact specific, obtaining legal advice as soon as possible is essential.
For more information contact John Veasey at Mossop & Bowser on 01406 422651.