What happens if you believe the Will may be valid but you have not been provided for appropriately or someone has died without a Will and you do not benefit under the intestacy rules. The Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975 allows the Court to change the distribution of the Deceased’s estate to make reasonable financial provision for those who:

  • Have not inherited due to intestacy
  • Were left out of the Will
  • Not receive as much as was reasonably expected

Who can make a claim?

You can claim for financial provision under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 if you are:

  • a spouse or civil partner of the Deceased
  • the former spouse or civil partner of the Deceased, and have not remarried or entered into a new civil partnership
  • living with the Deceased for at least two years prior to their death
  • the Deceased’s child (including an adult child)
  • treated by the deceased as their child
  • being ‘maintained’ (financially or supported) by the Deceased

What can I claim?

If you are a spouse or civil partner of the Deceased, you may be entitled to a reasonable level of financial provision, taking all circumstances into account e.g., family, financial and other beneficiaries.

Anyone else making a claim under the Inheritance Act is entitled to reasonable financial provision only to a level necessary for maintenance.

What are the time limits to make a claim?

A claim under the Inheritance Act must be submitted to court within 6 months of the date Grant of Representation issued by the Probate Registry.  In some circumstances the court may allow a claim to be brought after this time but these cases are rare.  You should contact us immediately if you want to bring a claim against an Estate.

Defending an Inheritance Act claim

If you are a beneficiary or an executor of an estate when it is subject to a claim, we can guide you through the legal process and defend the estate against the claim where appropriate.

Adult children brining claims under the Inheritance Act

You may be surprised to hear that an adult can bring a claim against their deceased parent’s estate if they feel that they have not been adequately provided for.

If you are an adult child of the deceased and want to bring a claim against their estate, you should contract us and we can advise accordingly.  

There have been several highly reported adult claim cases in recent year.  Cases such as Ilott v Mitson (2017) https://www.judiciary.gov.uk/judgments/ilott-v-mitson-and-others/ and Ames v Jones (2016) have raised public awareness of these types of claims.

Ilott v Mitson tested the issue of an adult daughter claiming against her mother’s estate under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.  The testator had left her estate to be divided between a number of charities and had specifically stated that her daughter, from whom she was estranged, was to receive nothing.

The dispute lasted over 10 years and the Supreme Court ordered that the original award made in the County Court of £50,000 which met Mrs Ilott’s needs.

How we can help

If you want to discuss whether you are able to make a claim then you should contact us as soon as possible.  Please call 0808 166 8834 to speak to a member of our Contentious Probate team now.


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