Despite the principle of testamentary freedom which exists in England and Wales, under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 (“1975 Act”), certain people connected to someone who dies (domicile in England or Wales) can still ask a Court to make an award in their favour, even if the deceased person left a Will excluding them or providing very little for them. They would usually need to be in financial need to be able to claim.
The 1975 Act also applies in relation to the Intestacy Rules in England and Wales; if they do not provide adequately, or at all, for them, they can also ask the Court to step in.
Under section 1 of the 1975 Act (https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1975/63/section/1), the following people can make a claim:
- a spouse or civil partner;
- a former spouse or civil partner (provided they have not remarried);
- (biological or adopted) children;
- people treated as children (step-children); and
- anyone maintained by the deceased at the date of their death.
The applicant would usually be the Claimant in the Court case, and the beneficiaries of the Will or Intestacy Rules (and the executors of the Will, or administrators under the Intestacy Rules, for procedural reasons) will be the Defendants in the claim.
Are there any time limits for bringing a claim under the 1975 Act?
Yes, you should issue Court proceedings within 6 months from the date of the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration. Although, after 6 months, you can request the Court’s permission to still be allowed to bring a claim, and there is a list of factors the Court will take into account when considering such a request.
To learn more please have a read of our blog "I've been excluded from a Will. Can I make a Claim?".
Here at Thornton Jones Solicitors we have a specialist team of solicitors who can assist you and guide you through the process of making an inheritance act claim. To find out more call us for a free initial consultation at any of our four West Yorkshire based offices.
Call us to discuss further and to make an appointment at any of our four West Yorkshire based offices.
Solicitors in Wakefield - Call 01924 290 029
Solicitors in Garforth - Call 0113 246 4423
Solicitors in Ossett - Call 01924 586 466
Solicitors in Sherburn in Elmet - Call 01977 350 500
Thornton Jones Solicitors are a firm of Solicitors in Wakefield. We have a wealth of experience in providing Wills, Powers of Attorney, Probate, Contentious Probate and other Private Client Solicitor services. We also have offices in Garforth, Ossett and Sherburn in Elmet so if you are looking for a Solicitor in Garforth or a Solicitor in Sherburn in Elmet then call us to discuss your matter and to book an appointment.
About Stacie Hurt
Having trained at Irwin Mitchell in Sheffield and honed her skills at various law firms in and around Sheffield, Stacie joined Thornton Jones Solicitors early 2021 to help strengthen our Private Client team by bringing her wealth of Contentious Probate experience to the team.
Stacie says "I got into law to help people. I act for clients who wish to challenge the validity of wills, wish to bring Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, or who were promised something by a deceased person but were left out of their written Will. Sometimes I will act for people who are involved in a dispute with other executors and/or beneficiaries of an estate, or for someone who simply wishes to receive their beneficial entitlement out of an estate."
When not helping clients receive what they are owed, Stacie enjoys keeping fit and listening to music. Stacie enjoys HIIT classes, playing netball, and running, and has completed the Sheffield Half Marathon raising funds for charity.