Under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, or the “75 Act”, certain categories of people can bring a claim against the estate if they consider that “reasonable financial provision” has not been made for them under the will or intestacy of the deceased.
I have set out below the requirements for an individual to be eligible to bring a claim under the 75 Act.
Who can bring a claim?
Once it has been established that there has been a failure to provide ‘reasonable financial provision’, the applicant must fall into one of the below categories:
- the spouse or civil partner of the deceased
- a former spouse or former civil partner of the deceased, but not one who has formed a subsequent marriage or civil partnership
- a child of the deceased
- any person (not being a child of the deceased) who was treated by the deceased as a child of the family
- any person (not being a person included in the previous categories) who immediately before the death of the deceased was being financially maintained, either wholly or partly, by the deceased
It is important to note that, whilst the person pursuing a 75 Act claim can reside anywhere in the world, the deceased must have been a permanent resident of England and Wales at the time of their death.
What is ‘reasonable financial provision’?
The first issue that has to be considered is whether the deceased made ‘reasonable financial provision’ for the individual who intends to bring a claim.
Reasonable financial provision is defined as being ‘such financial provision as it would be reasonable in all the circumstances of the case for the applicant to receive for his maintenance’.
If the applicant is a surviving spouse or civil partner of the deceased, then additional factors are considered, such as their standard of living whilst the deceased was alive. The court will also consider what the applicant may have been awarded if the relationship had ended due to divorce, as opposed to death.
How long do you have to bring a claim?
Any claim under the 75 Act must be made within six months of the date the grant of representation is issued by the Probate Registry. If the deceased had a will, this would be a Grant of Probate and if the deceased died without a will, i.e. intestate, then this would be a Grant of Representation.
Whilst sometimes it is possible to bring a claim outside of the six month time limit, the applicant would have to prove that there was a valid reason for the delay, which is often difficult to establish. Therefore, the sooner a person is able to bring a claim, the better.
How we can help
Our knowledgeable commercial litigation team has experience acting for both Claimant’s and Defendant’s in 75 Act claims. Whether you are looking at pursuing a 75 Act claim or find yourself having to defend one, our solicitors are on hand discuss your matter in detail.
For a free no obligation discussion, please contact us on 0121 355 0011 to see how we may be able to help you.