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Inheritance Act and Disputed Estate Claims

We are specialist Probate solicitors within Croydon and Central London and have a strong reputation in assisting clients with making claims against the estate in Probate matters. We offer competitive pricing and offer a bespoke estate planning service to all our clients.

The Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 allows certain people to make a claim for reasonable financial provision from a deceased person’s estate, but only if circumstances permit it.

What those circumstances amount to varies from case to case, but who can make a claim under the Inheritance Act?

There are several classes of applicant who can make a claim under the Inheritance Act:

Spouse/civil partner

The spouse or civil partner of the deceased person may make a claim under the Inheritance Act.

Former spouse/civil partner

The ex-spouse or civil partner is also able to make a claim provided:
1. They have not remarried or entered into a new civil partnership; and/or
2. There is no bar to them making a claim under the Inheritance Act contained within the terms of the divorce.

Cohabitee

The cohabitee must satisfy a particular test in order to make a claim under the Inheritance Act, namely they must have:
• Lived in the same household as the deceased;
• Lived as the husband or wife of the deceased; and
• Had continuously cohabited for at least two years immediately preceding the death of the deceased.

Child of the deceased

A child is defined not only as a biological child of the deceased but also includes adopted children and, for deaths after 1 October 2014, any person who was treated as a child of the deceased.

This category may extend to adult children who have not financially relied on the deceased for many years, however this would need to be assessed.

Dependant of the deceased

A dependant is someone who was maintained by the deceased in whole or in part, immediately before their death.

What amounts to maintenance is infinitely variable. Minor maintenance will not be enough to satisfy the test and the deceased must have been making a substantial contribution in money (or money’s worth) towards the reasonable needs of the claimant. The deceased would typically have assumed a settled responsibility for the financial well-being of the claimant.

How Barnes Harrild & Dyer Solicitors can help

For further information and a free telephone consultation, call our Central London or Croydon offices today on 0344 444 8216 and speak to one of our senior lawyers.

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