Suffering a bereavement is often the most difficult time in a person’s life. This can be much harder when you are in the unfortunate position of having to make a claim against your loved one’s estate. Our family team are well equipped to guide you through the process of bringing a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975.
Who can bring a claim?
You can bring a claim for reasonable provision against the estate of a loved one if they were domiciled in England & Wales and if you are:
- The spouse or civil partner of the deceased;
- The former spouse or civil partner of the deceased and you have not remarried or entered into a new civil partnership;
- You were in a relationship with the deceased and were cohabiting for at least two years before the death;
- A child of the deceased;
- A ‘child of the family’ (i.e. step child, foster child etc)
- A person who was maintained by and dependent on the deceased.
What can I claim for?
You can claim for reasonable financial provision from the deceased’s estate but please note that what is considered to be reasonable financial provision is different if you were not the spouse of the deceased.
If you are the spouse, the provision required is based on what it would be reasonable for you to receive whether or not it is for your ‘maintenance’. If you are not the spouse, and are claiming under a different category, then you will only be able to claim for your reasonable maintenance.
The 1975 Act does not define ‘maintenance’ but it has been clarified by caselaw which stipulates that the ‘maintenance’ should be based on what it would be reasonable for the claimant to live on, at neither a luxurious not a poverty stricken level.
When do I claim?
There are strict time limits for when you can bring a claim so it is important you take advice at the earliest opportunity. If you wish to make a claim, the claim form needs to be issued within six months of the date of the Grant of Probate or Grant of Representation. If you have missed this deadline, then recent case law has indicated that it may still be possible to make a claim but you would need to ask for the court’s permission to be able to do so and there is no guarantee.
What will I get?
The court will consider a number of factors when considering whether to make an award in your favour. There are known as the “section 3 factors” and include factors such as your financial needs, the financial needs of other relevant parties, the size of the estate and conduct. This is not an exhaustive list so please get in touch for more information.