The last Will and testament of a person is not always ‘the final word’ on how that person’s assets are shared out.
Although English law gives everyone the freedom to leave their wealth to whomever they choose, there are instances when their decision may be overruled.
The Inheritance Act 1975 was introduced to help those who were wrongly left out of a Will, or whose inheritance was not adequate to provide for them, or when a person close to them has died without making a Will.
You are eligible to contest a Will if you are:-
- The spouse or civil partner of the deceased
- A former spouse or former civil partner of the deceased and you have not remarried or formed a new civil partnership
- A person living in the same household as the husband or wife of the deceased for the whole of the two years before the deceased’s death
- A person living in the same household as the civil partner of the deceased for the whole of the two years before the deceased’s death
- A child of the deceased
- Any person treated as a child of the family by the deceased in relation to a marriage or civil partnership
- Any person being maintained by the deceased immediately before his or her death
To make a successful claim against the estate of the deceased, an applicant must satisfy the Court that reasonable financial provision has not been made for them. This might sound simple, but it can often be difficult to quantify what ‘reasonable financial provision’ means. The needs of each applicant depend on how they are related to the deceased and their own personal circumstances.
If someone close to you has passed away and their Will doesn’t provide for you as it should, seek advice immediately as there are strict time limits for making an application under the 1975 Act.
Our Wills, Trusts and Probate team has a wealth of knowledge and experience when it comes to contesting a Will. Our lawyers offer strategic and practical advice that can help you towards obtaining the inheritance to which you should be entitled.
If you are planning to leave out of your Will a beneficiary whose claim could fall under this Act, it is vital that you contact us to get the correct advice to mitigate any potential claim against your estate.