Inheritance Act Claims For Reasonable Financial Provision

Advice and assistance from Cohen Cramer

There may be occasions when a person who feels they should have been provided for is not, or does not receive enough under a Will or intestacy (where the deceased died without a Will and the government has fixed rules on who is entitled and to how much).

If you think that this applies to you Cohen Cramer Solicitors can give you the help and advice that you need.

Under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, certain groups of people may be able to claim reasonable financial provision to be paid to them from the estate. Please be aware  that you only have six months from the date of the grant of probate to make your claim so it is important that you contact us as soon as possible. If more than six months has passed, the Court may grant an extension of time but this would only be in exceptional circumstances.

Who can claim?

  • Spouse/civil partner, even if separated
  • Co-habitee of more than two years
  • Child of deceased
  • Person treated as a child of the deceased
  • Person dependant on the deceased
  • Former spouse/civil partner if not remarried or in new civil partnership

Why would you claim?

  • You have been left out of a Will completely
  • You are included in a Will but have not been left as much as you need
  • There is no Will and under the Intestacy Rules you do not get anything
  • There is no Will and the Intestacy Rules do not give you enough
  • The deceased supported you whilst alive and this support should continue

What can you claim?

  • A spouse can claim reasonable financial provision
  • Other claimants can claim provision for their maintenance

How is reasonable financial provision worked out?

The court will look at several factors, such as:

  • Nature and length of relationship
  • Financial needs of the claimant
  • Financial needs of other beneficiaries
  • Extent of the estate
  • Any duty or obligations the deceased had towards the claimant or other beneficiaries
  • Any disability of the claimant or other beneficiaries

Beneficiaries can also be disappointed if they do not receive what they were promised they would get.  If you are disappointed by what you have received there may be grounds for a claim.

For the advice you need contact the probate team at Cohen Cramer for clear, sensitive, professional advice:

Below are various examples of where a claim for reasonable financial provision may be successful.

As we were not married my partner’s estate is going to his family, what can I do?

If you were living as husband and wife or civil partners, in one household, for more than two years before the date of death you can claim reasonable financial provision for your maintenance from the estate

I was financially dependent on the deceased but not a relative – can I claim anything from the estate

If you can prove that the deceased provided you with regular financial maintenance you may be able to claim provision from the estate.  It must be more than just regular gifts but rather that the deceased took on an obligation to fund your maintenance in some way.

We were separated but not divorced, do I have any rights to something from the estate?

If as a spouse, even if not living together, you have been left out of a Will you can claim reasonable financial provision.  The court will look at all the circumstances of the relationship and will take into account what you may have received if the relationship had ended by divorce rather than death, to assess what is reasonable for you.

I have to share the estate with my spouse’s children.  Can I claim anything more?

As a spouse you can claim reasonable financial provision if you believe you have not been provided with this, despite the fact there are competing interests from your spouse’s children.  If the court considers that the amount you have been left is not reasonable you may be awarded more from the estate.

The deceased remarried – as a child of the first marriage do I have a claim?

A child of the deceased can claim reasonable financial provision for their maintenance.  If you are an adult child with no financial dependency on your parent this may be more difficult but the court will consider all the circumstances.

My step parent died and I have been left out of the Will

If you were treated as a child of any marriage of the deceased you may be able to claim reasonable financial provision for your maintenance.  The court will consider all the circumstances of the claim.

The deceased promised me something but has not left it to me in his Will

If you were made a promise whilst the deceased was alive and you have suffered a loss because you relied on this promise you may be able to claim for the promise to be upheld.  You will have to show that you have suffered some loss because you relied on the promise rather than you had simply expected something which was then not given to you.

Inheritance Act claims

On occasions the provisions of a Will or the outcome of the Intestacy Rules can result in beneficiaries, or potential beneficiaries being left in difficult financial positions due to not receiving enough, or sometimes anything at all from the estate.  The Inheritance (provision for family and dependants) Act 1975 can ensure that those who should have been provided for, do receive reasonable provision, even if that goes against the deceased’s wishes.  This is of particular benefit to unmarried partners who have no entitlement at all under the Intestacy rules.

Claims usually have to be started within 6 months of the grant of probate so it is important to take legal advice as soon as possible.

If you are concerned that you have not been left enough  following a death, or you have not been left anything at all please contact one of our specialist inheritance dispute advisers.

Contact the team at Cohen Cramer for clear, sensitive, professional advice:

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