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Inheritance Act Claims Solicitors Oxford, Marlow & London


Bringing a claim against an estate where you believe insufficient financial provision has been made for you

Claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975

Whether you are bringing or defending a claim, our specialist lawyers can assist you so that the claim is dealt with as quickly and efficiently as possible.
We pride ourselves on our ability to explain matters in straightforward terms using understandable language to assist you in resolving your claim.

What is an Inheritance Act claim?

An Inheritance Act claim is simply a claim made under the Inheritance Act (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 (“Inheritance Act”) against a person’s estate in England or Wales.
The grounds for bringing a claim are that the Will or intestacy has failed to make reasonable financial provision for the applicant and the applicant has a requirement for financial provision. Applicants who are able to demonstrate both a financial need and that no reasonable provision is being made for them will have a strong claim.
These claims are not challenges against the validity of a Will as the Will is not being challenged. These claims provide a useful alternative to challenging the validity of a Will as Will disputes are costly, time-consuming and difficult cases to succeed in.

Why instruct our firm?

We are experts at handling Inheritance Act claims.
Our Contentious Wills & Estates team is led by Partner, Tara McInnes.
Tara has acted on a number of reported cases, the most notable of which are: acting for the trustees in the high-profile case of Brooke v Purton & ORS (2014) EWHC 547 (Ch), which was the first case to be decided since Marley v Rawlings (2013), involving the rectification of wills; and acting for the claimant in the equally high profile and widely reported case of Elliott –v- Simmonds (2016) EWHC 962 (Ch), which resulted in a change to the decision on costs in passive defence claims. More recently, Tara acted in the unreported case of Rochford v Rochford involving an adult child claim under the Inheritance Act (and details about this case can be found here) and also in the reported case of Fellner v Cleall [2021] EWHC 3599 (Ch).
Tara is also a PDSL accredited and International Mediation Institute (IMI) qualified mediator and is able to act as mediator in either contentious probate or civil litigation matters.

Inheritance Act Claims FAQ

  • Who can apply?

    The types of applicants that can bring such claims are:
    • A spouse or civil partner of the Deceased;• A former spouse or civil partner of the Deceased who has not remarried;• A child of the Deceased (includes adult children);• Any person that was treated by the Deceased as if they were their child (i.e. stepchildren);• Any person who was being maintained by the Deceased prior to their death;• An unmarried partner of the Deceased who co-habited with the Deceased for two years or more.

  • What factors does the Court consider?

    In considering a claim under The Inheritance Act, the Court will take into account the following factors, called the Section 3 factors:
    (a) The applicant’s financial circumstances now or in the foreseeable future
    This is an important factor within the Inheritance Act. As part of the claim the applicant must be willing to provide complete disclosure of income, means and financial needs usually in the form of financial statements.
    (b) The financial circumstances now or in the future of any other applicant
    If there are any other applicants claiming against the estate, then the Court must balance the competing interests.
    (c) The financial circumstances now and in the future of the beneficiaries of the estate
    If the beneficiaries of the estate have financial needs of their own, the Court must also take these into account.
    (d) Any obligations owed by the deceased to the applicant
    The applicant must demonstrate that the deceased owed them an obligation i.e. that the deceased was supporting the applicant financially or promised to do so.
    (e) The size and nature of the net estate
    The value of the estate is one of the factors the Court will consider but not the only factor. However, a larger estate might mean that more provision can be afforded.
    (f) Whether any of the parties are suffering from any physical or mental disabilities?
    The Court will consider the physical and mental disabilities of the parties, applicants and beneficiaries. The cost of care and the impact of the disability on working capacity will be relevant to consider.
    (g) Any other relevant factor including conduct
    This enables the Court to consider a wide range of factors not included in the other Section 3 sections.
    The Court will weigh all the Section 3 factors as a whole when considering whether to make an award to the applicant.

  • What is the time limit for making an application?

    There is a strict time limit of 6 months from the date of the grant of probate to issue court proceedings for a claim which means that applicants must act quickly. Any claim brought outside this time-frame will need Court permission.

  • How would I fund my claim?

    Where parties are unable to fund their claim on a privately paying basis, our firm is able to consider offering a legal funding arrangement. A Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) often referred to as, “no win no fee” is an agreement which provides that your legal fees are only payable if certain conditions are met e.g. your claim is successful.
    A Deferred Fee Agreement is an agreement which provides that your legal fees are not payable until the conclusion of the claim.
    Provision of a funding agreement will be discussed in detail and is considered on a case by case basis.

  • How would the claim be settled?

    We deal with these types of claim sensitively and pragmatically It is often more appropriate to adopt a conciliatory approach and resolve the issues without the adversarial process of Court proceedings, especially given that these disputes involve family matters. We aim to resolve most disputes by mediation which can be more cost effective and timely than lengthy Court proceedings. However, where Court proceedings are required, we do not shy away from this process.

  • What could I receive from my claim?

    The Court has wide powers to make awards to applicants. It can award:
    • Accommodation security – ranging from a house outright to a rent or mortgage contribution. • Provision to meet everyday costs of living and the cost of retirement• Provision to meet future costs of care

  • What can I do if someone is bringing a claim against an estate I inherit from?

    If you are a beneficiary or an executor of an estate and a claim has been raised against the estate, then you will need to consider how to resolve it. Executors usually adopt a position of neutrality where claims are brought against the estate and where there is a beneficiary to defend the claim, then this role passes to them.
    There are strict time limits for these types of claims and therefore legal advice should be obtained sooner rather than later.

Can we help?

Whether you need to dispute a Will or defend your inheritance, we will work with you to achieve the best results for you.
We are more than happy to have an initial conversation to confidentially discuss such types of claims.
Should you wish to speak with us, please contact Tara McInnes at moc.pihsrentrapedisnrubeht%40sennicm.arat or call 01865 987781.

Every client is valued equally and treated with genuine compassion.

Legal 500, 2019

Contact The Burnside Partnership

For more information on our services or how we can help, please get in touch.