The Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 (the 1975 Act) allows certain people to make a claim for reasonable financial provision from a deceased’s estate, but only if circumstances permit it. What those circumstances are varies from case to case, but who can make a claim under the 1975 Act?
There are several classes of applicant:
- Spouse/civil partner.
- Former spouse/civil partner provided (1) they have not remarried or entered into a new civil partnership; and/or (2) there is no bar to them making a claim under the 1975 Act contained within the terms of the divorce.
- A cohabitee provided they lived in the same household as the deceased as husband or wife for at least two years immediately preceding death. There have been some exceptions made in recent years but this is the basic criteria for a cohabitant claim.
- A child of the deceased (which includes adult children). A “child” is defined not only as a biological child but also includes adopted children and, for deaths after 1 October 2014, any person who was treated as a child of the deceased.
- A financial dependant who was maintained by the deceased in whole or in part, immediately before their death. What amounts to maintenance is infinitely variable but minor maintenance will not be enough to satisfy the test and the deceased must have been making a substantial contribution in money (or money’s worth) towards the reasonable needs of the claimant. The deceased would typically have assumed a settled responsibility for the financial wellbeing of the claimant.
Please contact Noel McNicholas for a no obligation chat if you are considering making a claim or are facing a claim under the Inheritance Act 1975.