Who Can Challenge A Will

Challenging A Will Under The Inheritance (Provision For Family And Dependants) Act 1975

This Act enables certain categories of persons to make a claim against an estate if they can show that they were financially dependant on the deceased and that the deceased did not make adequate provision for them in their Will.

A claim can also be brought if there is no Will and if the effect of the intestacy rules is that a person, in one of the same categories, is left without reasonable financial provision by the rules of intestacy.

A claim under the Act must be made within 6 months of the issue of the grant of probate .  This time limit can in appropriate circumstances be extended but this power of the Court should not be relied upon and a claim should be commenced within the 6 month period.

The following categories of person are eligible to make a claim under the Act :

  1. A current spouse or civil partner of the deceased;
  2. A former spouse or civil partner of the deceased who has not remarried and who has not received a financial settlement following the breakdown of the marriage or civil partnership;
  3. Any person who, during the whole two year period immediately before the date of death was living in the same household as the deceased in the manner of a spouse or civil partner;
  4. Any person of the deceased including illegitimate, legitimated and adopted children of any age;
  5. Any person treated by the deceased as a child of the marriage or civil partnership;
  6. Any person not included above who was maintained wholly or partly by the deceased immediately before his death otherwise than for valuable consideration.

The Act sets out the criteria which the Court must take into account in deciding whether or not to award financial provision.  This includes the size of the estate, the financial needs of the Applicant, the financial needs of other beneficiaries of the estate and any other matter which the Court considers relevant including the conduct of the parties.

Spouses and civil partners are entitled to seek such provision as it would be reasonable in all of the circumstances for them to receive.

Other Applicants are entitled to seek such provision as it would be reasonable in all the circumstances for the Applicant to receive for his or her maintenance.

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