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 application. 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.