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Inheritance Act Claims

Have you been left out of someone’s Will, or are you worried that you haven’t been provided for as you needed or expected? Maybe you are facing a challenge over your inheritance and you don’t know how – or if – you can defend it.

Our team of solicitors have the expertise and experience to guide and advise you on whatever your Inheritance Act issue might be.

On this page:

    What is an Inheritance Act claim?

    This is a claim made under the Inheritance (Provision for Family & Dependants) Act 1975.

    The Act allows certain people to make a claim against an estate of someone who has died if they could have reasonably expected to inherit a share of it.

    Not anyone can make such a claim, as the purpose of the Act is to protect people who were in some way financially dependent on the person who died, but for whom sufficient financial provision has not been made.

    In a legal context, the Act is often referred to as ‘the Inheritance Act’ or ‘the 1975 Act’ for short. As such, we often hear people refer to claims made under the Act as an ‘Inheritance Act claim’ or a ‘1975 Act claim’.

    Who can make an Inheritance Act claim?

    The Inheritance Act provides the following list of those who can apply for an Inheritance Act Claim:

    • The spouse / civil partner of the deceased
    • Children of the deceased, including adopted children or a person that has been treated as a child of the marriage
    • A former spouse / civil partner who has not remarried / entered into a new civil partnership
    • A person who lived with the deceased in the manner of a spouse / civil partner in the immediate two years prior to their death
    • A person who was in some way financially maintained / dependent on the deceased

    Do I have grounds to make an Inheritance Act Claim?

    If you fall within the list of those who can apply, you can make a claim under the Inheritance Act if:

    • You are not mentioned in the deceased’s Will
    • You are mentioned, but the deceased did not leave you enough
    • The deceased did not make a Will, but the rules of intestacy do not include you, or do not make sufficient provision for you

    Our solicitors can advise you on the strength of your claims and if an Inheritance Act claim is the right action for you.

    Inheritance Act Claims – frequently asked questions

    Yes. When the Inheritance Act refers to ‘children’, it does not just mean minors, but includes adult children. In fact, recent cases, such as Illot v Mitson are an example of where the Court has made an order for provision for an adult child who was estranged from the deceased for several years.

    Yes, although it will depend on various factors such as if you have since remarried / entered into a new civil partnership, and / or if a financial settlement was reached at the time of your divorce.

    Yes. The Inheritance Act includes people who were living in the same household as though they were married / in a civil partnership. Our solicitors can advise you on whether this applies to you, and the sort of reasonable provision you can expect to seek in your circumstances.

    An application under the Inheritance Act needs to be made within 6 months of the date that the Grant was issued. However, the Court does have discretion to allow an extension where appropriate circumstances apply. Therefore, even if you are worried that you are out of time, it is worthwhile contacting us if you think you have a claim under the Inheritance Act.

    Court proceedings are costly, lengthy and can be extremely stressful. Therefore, where possible, our solicitors aim to resolve your issue as quickly and amicably as possible.

    Sometimes, unfortunately, it is necessary to start proceedings. However, it is important to remember that a resolution can still be reached at any time throughout the process. If your matter does need to go to Court, our experienced team of solicitors can prepare you for this and will guide you every step of the way.

    When someone makes an Inheritance Act claim against an estate, your role as executor is a neutral one. It is important that you make sure you continue to fulfil your duties and responsibilities to the estate whilst a claim is open.

    If you have found yourself in this situation and you are unsure about your role, you should seek professional legal advice so that you can be clear on what you can and cannot do, and what you should and should not do, until any and all claims against the estate are resolved. You can also be advised on what you can do to protect your position as personal representative of the estate in the meantime.

    If you are an executor and would like advice and / or assistance with the administration of the estate, regardless of whether there has been a challenge, you can find out more information from our non-contentious probate lawyers.

    Related services

    Your key contacts:
    Claire Martin
    Partner  Head of Private Client


    Prue Abrahams
    Senior Associate Private Client


    Amaya Huntly
    Senior Associate Wills, Probate, Trusts


    Rajinder Rai
    Senior Associate & Accredited Mediator Private Client


    Samantha Fennah
    Associate  Private Client


    Olivia Emmett
    Trainee Solicitor Private Client


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