Legal Eagle Column: Making a claim against the estate of a deceased person

Peter Kelly is a Partner at Neves Solicitors, who specialises in dispute resolution and dealing with issues regarding claims over a deceased person’s estate and contesting a will. Here he looks at the process of making a claim…

If someone dies and their will, or the laws of Intestacy (if they had no will), do not make reasonable financial provision for their partner or immediate family then a claim could be made under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 for an order redistributing the deceased’s assets.

Controversially, even if the deceased left a will setting out precisely who they wanted to benefit from their estate and in what amounts, the court can make an order varying this if reasonable financial provision has not been made.

Applications need to be made within 6 months of the grant of probate being obtained although the court does have discretion to extend the time for applying in certain circumstances.

Should a claim be made the court will consider numerous factors including the financial needs of the applicant and other beneficiaries and the size of the deceased’s estate.

For spouses the court will also consider what the outcome of divorce proceedings may have been if there had been a divorce rather than a death.

Should the court conclude that reasonable financial provision was not made it has power to order a wide range of outcomes including an order for a lump sum payment to the applicant, regular payments or transfer of the deceased’s property to the claimant.

At Neves we have vast experience in both bringing and defending this type of claim.

When instructed we always look to explore alternative dispute resolution to try and save the substantial costs that will be incurred if court proceedings are necessary with a view of achieving the best possible result for our clients.

If you do not believe that reasonable financial provision was made for you or an immediate family member and it has been less than 6 months since the grant of probate was obtained please contact me on 01908 304560 to discuss your case.

Call Peter at Neves Solicitors on 01908 304560.

This feature was published in the April 2018 issue of Celebrate:MK lifestyle magazine. Read the full magazine above or by clicking on this link.

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