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Wills, Trusts & Estate Disputes

Inheritance Act Claims

If you’ve been left out of a Will, or not been left as much as you need, you may be able to claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.

While a person is entitled to leave their estate to whoever they want when they die, there are some people who might reasonably expect to have a share of it. This may include:

  • A spouse or civil partner
  • Children (both minors or adults)
  • A former spouse or civil partner – if they have not remarried
  • Someone living continually with the deceased for at least two years before their death
  • Any person being financially maintained in some way by them.

Our specialist solicitors could help you make a claim for financial provision if:

  • The deceased did not leave a valid Will (this is known as intestacy)
  • You have been left out of the Will
  • You have not been left as much as you need.

Whatever your circumstance, whether you are making a claim under the Inheritance Act or defending one, our specialist solicitors can help. We have the largest Wills, Trusts and Estate Disputes team in the country and we’re experienced in dealing with complex estates.

There’s a six month deadline from the date probate is granted for any person wishing to bring an Inheritance Act claim – so we urge you to get in touch as soon as possible.

Call us today on 0345 604 4895 – or fill out our online form and we’ll call you back.

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Inheritance Act Claims- More Information
    • How Do I Contest A Will?
    • Making a claim will differ slightly depending on the circumstances of your dispute, but it’s usually made up of the same steps:

      1. Investigation

      We’ll examine the Will and any related documents (this might be property deeds, trust accounts, previous Wills made by the deceased).

      If relevant, we may also gather medical evidence about the deceased, to understand their condition when they made the Will. This would be particularly important in disputes over whether or not someone had mental capacity to make a Will.

      We might also get witness statements from those who knew the deceased, to better understand the full circumstances in which the Will was drawn up.

      These investigations will help us confirm whether you can make a claim, and what type of claim it will be.

      2. Mediation

      Most disputes can be settled by an alternative dispute resolution method, such as mediation. This means that you don’t have to go to court, which can be costly and time-consuming.

      Mediation typically takes place on one day, with a professionally trained mediator present as a neutral third party. The mediator’s role is to try to help you reach an agreement with the other parties.

      3. Court

      Some disputes cannot be resolved by reaching an agreed settlement. If this is the case, the matter will have to be decided by a court. This is rare, however – and if it does happen, we have the expertise to secure the best outcome for you.

      Whatever the circumstances of your dispute, we’ll support you every step of the way – and we’ll give you a clear idea at the start of how long we think it will take, and the outcome we think you can expect.

    • How Long Do I Have To Make A Claim?
    • Claims under the Inheritance Act must be brought within six months of a grant of representation being issued (i.e. when the executor gets the grant of probate to administer the Will). It’s therefore very important to seek advice as soon as possible.

      If more than six months has passed, you’ll have to apply to the court for permission to bring your claim. If permission is refused, in most cases you wouldn’t then be able to pursue your claim.

      In exceptional circumstances it may be possible to extend the time limit. Our team can advise you if this is the case.

      The key is to get in touch as soon as possible, to avoid you being unable to make a valid and potentially valuable claim.

    • How Long Will It Take?
    • Most claims take less than a year and don’t have to go to court. However, every case is different and time spans depend on the type of dispute and your individual situation.

      Some disputes can be resolved quickly in a matter of months, but others might take years to conclude and involve going to court several times.

      We’ll advise you at the start how long we think it will take. Whatever the situation, we always aim to resolve your dispute as quickly and efficiently as possible. We understand that this is a difficult time, and we’re here to help you through.

    • Will I Have To Go To Court?
    • Most disputes can be resolved by negotiation and discussion, without having to go to court. However, sometimes this isn’t possible and court is the only way.

      We understand that most people would prefer to keep their dispute out of court, and we will always do everything we can to try and reach an agreement by mediation or negotiation.

      However, if your dispute does have to go to court, we will support you at every stage. We have the experience to handle court disputes efficiently and effectively, to achieve the best outcome for you.

    • Do I Have To Come To The Irwin Mitchell Offices?
    • We understand that the death of a loved one can be a distressing and difficult time, and we’ll do everything we can to make sure your claim is as stress-free as possible.

      We’re happy to meet with you at one of our offices – or if you prefer, we can deal with everything by phone or email. We can also come and meet you at a place that’s convenient for you.

      We have clients across the country and will always strive to make everything as convenient for you as possible.

    • Meet The Team
    • Our Wills, Trusts and Estate Disputes team is the largest in the UK and we have offices across the country. We are experienced in managing high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth claims as well as less complex ones.

      We’ve resolved some of the country’s most high-profile disputes and are particularly experienced with the unique challenges of multi-jurisdictional wealth management structures, rural property and inheritance tax.

      We are recommended by the leading legal guides and pride ourselves on the strong relationship we build with our clients in what is often a very trying time.

      Meet the team

My legal team has held my hand throughout, they have been incredibly patient and understanding"

Joy Williams, client

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are The Common Grounds For Making A Claim?

There are many different reasons for making a claim under the Inheritance Act, and each case must be considered on its own terms. However, some of the common circumstances include:

  • An estranged child or spouse has been left without financial provision
  • The financial provision made for someone named in the Will is insufficient for their needs
  • A person’s financial needs have changed, either before or after the deceased’s death, and the Will does not recognise this change in circumstances
  • If the deceased died without a Will, any partner living with them would not automatically inherit, as the intestacy rules do not include provision for unmarried partners. Find out more about contesting probate where there is no Will.

In some cases it may also be that all parties agree that the Will should be adjusted, and just need legal advice to work out the exact details. This can be common if children are involved or where there are issues regarding potential tax consequences.

If you’re unsure whether or not you have a claim, our specialist team are here to advise you. Call today on 0345 604 4895 – or fill out our online form and we’ll call you back.

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What Will The Court Take Into Account In An Inheritance Act Claim?

There are a number of things a court must consider when reviewing a claim under the Inheritance Act. These include:

  • Your financial needs and resources
  • The size and nature of the estate
  • What obligations and responsibilities the deceased had to you
  • Any disabilities you have, whether physical or mental, that make financial provision necessary
  • The needs and resources of those named in the Will and any others who have claims on the estate.

If you’re making a claim as a spouse or civil partner, the court will also take into consideration things such as how long you were together.

They might also look at other relevant factors, such as the conduct of the parties. Each case is different and there is no blanket rule for who is entitled to what.

We understand that these claims come at a time that is already emotionally demanding, and by their very nature can be deeply personal. We have the experience and expertise to support you through the process and ensure you get the best outcome possible.

Call our team today on 0345 604 4895 – or fill out our online form and we’ll call you back.

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Who Can Claim Under The Inheritance Act?

Inheritance Act claims are decided on a case by case basis and depend on the particular circumstances of the applicant and their relationship to the deceased, as well as the details of the estate itself.

In general, children, partners, and any other dependants of the deceased might all expect reasonable provision from the estate. ‘Children’ can include step-children, as well as anyone who was treated as a child of the family, even if they aren't related. 

Your relationship to the deceased will also determine what you are entitled to and the level of financial need you must prove. While spouses and civil partners do not have to show evidence of financial need, children and other dependants do have to. They are then entitled ‘reasonable provision’ for their maintenance.

If you’re unsure of whether or not you have a valid claim, we urge you to get in touch today – the time restrictions for making a claim under the Inheritance Act are very strict.

Call to speak to one of the team on 0345 604 4895 – or fill out our online form and we’ll call you back.

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