I am thinking of making a claim in regards to a will of one of my late relatives. Can any person bring a claim in court regards a will and the way the property was distributed, or is it only specific people who can do this?
The Answer from Solicitors Online
The Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 states which groups of people can bring a claim for further financial provisions from a deceased person’s estate to be given to them.
The deceased’s spouse
Under Section 1(1)(a) of the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 the spouse of the deceased can bring a claim in relation to their inheritance of the deceased’s estate. A separated spouse must obtain a court order from the matrimonial court in accordance with Section 15 of the Act to do so. In normal circumstances, a spouse who was divorced from deceased will not be able to bring an inheritance claim.
Under Section 1(1)(b) a claim can be made by a cohabitant who lived in the same household as the deceased, as their husband or wife, throughout the two year period immediately prior the deceased’s death.
The case of Gully v Dix also provides that a person who was living in the same household as the deceased at the time of death, even though they were living separately at the time can make a claim, if they two were still tied by their relationship.
Children over the age of 18 can bring a claim, but they are unlikely to be successful if they are regarded as able bodied and in employment. However successful claims are known to have been made in the past.
A person who has been treated as a child of the family in relation to a marriage of the deceased
A step child of the deceased is able to bring a claim in relation to the deceased estate. However, they usually do not succeed in most cases.
A person who before the death of the deceased, was being maintained wholly or partially by them, may be regarded as a dependant and eligible to make a claim in regards to the deceased’s estate. However, under Section 1(3) of the Act they must prove that the financial support that they received was in excess value of any service provided by the applicant in return for such support. This demonstrates that it was not based on some sort of contractual or mutual agreement for other purposes.
For a person to bring a claim in regards to inheritance, for a greater financial provision to be given to them of the deceased’s estate they must come under one of the listed groups.
If you need legal advice on bringing a legal claim in relation to a will, you can speak to one of ourSolicitors online right now.