The Inheritance (Provision for Family & Dependants) Act 1975 (“the 1975 Act”) allows certain categories of people to challenge a will on the basis that it fails to provide sufficient financial provision for them. A claim under the 1975 Act can only be brought where the deceased died domiciled in England and Wales. It is possible to bring a claim against an estate if the deceased died either leaving a will or passed away intestate (i.e. without a valid will).

In order to bring a successful claim under the 1975 Act, the court will need to agree that the deceased’s will does not provide reasonable financial provision for the claimant. If this can be shown, the court has the discretion to vary how an estate shall be distributed.

Who is able to bring a claim against an estate?

  • The spouse or civil partner of the deceased;
  • The former spouse or civil partner of the deceased (as long as they have not remarried or entered into a subsequent civil partnership);
  • Any person who, for two years prior to the death, was cohabiting with the deceased;
  • A child of the deceased or a person who was treated as a child by the deceased; and
  • Any other person who was being maintained by the deceased prior to their death.
Spouses and civil partners are treated differently to other applicants. They are required to show that the deceased’s estate did not provide such financial provision for them as would be reasonable in all of the circumstances. They do not, however, need to satisfy the court that the lack of financial provision is required for their maintenance.

Time limit

If an applicant is eligible to bring a claim under the 1975 Act, they must act swiftly in issuing their claim. There is a strict deadline of six months to bring a claim from the date that the Grant of Representation was first taken out (i.e. this applies to both a grant of probate or a grant of letters of administration).

If you think you have a potential claim under the 1975 Act or you wish to defend a claim, please contact a member of our team as a matter of urgency.

T: 0203 633 6226
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Culver Law, Cambridge
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