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When someone passes away, they may leave a will that defines who acquires what assets from their estate, whether that be money, physical objects, or other assets. However, there are some exceptions where individuals can lay claim to assets in an estate without being named in a will. These individuals can make claims under the Inheritance Act 1975. Here’s our quick guide on when and how it’s applied, as well as how to make a claim.
What is an inheritance act claim?
Individuals who may expect to claim a share of an estate can make a claim under the inheritance act in order to acquire some of the estate. This can be because they are not named in the will, there is no will or the will does not provide as much as they need. Inheritance act claims can also be claimed due to things like the mental capacity of the person making the will being brought into question, as well as undue pressure being put on them when making it.
Who can claim under the inheritance act?
Generally, the Inheritance Act is there to ensure that those who are financially dependent on someone who passes away can still acquire some of their assets. This means that spouses and civil partners (including former spouses and civil partners), children (including adopted and step-children), someone who lived with the deceased two years or more before their death, and anyone else financially maintained by them can make claims.
How successful are inheritance act claims?
It’s hard to give an exact answer, but factors that may affect the success of a claim include the needs of the claimants, obligations that the deceased had to the claimants, the size of the estate being claimed upon, any disability of a claimant and the conduct of each party.
How to make an inheritance act claim?
Inheritance claims are case-specific, so the stages will vary depending on your circumstance. Regardless, it’s important to seek legal advice as soon as possible to ensure that the correct protocols are followed for your claim. Broadly speaking, a claim must be made within six months of a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration issued by the court. The collating of evidence will be the first step, which should include financial documents to define exactly what the claim is, and circumstantial evidence such as correspondence. This will be followed by formal mediation and negotiation between parties.
DFA Law can give expert legal advice to claimants in inheritance tax cases. Get in touch on 01604 609560 or use our online form.