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Will you be able to inherit?

29 Jun 2010

Most people assume when their spouse, partner or the person upon whom they had become dependent dies, that unless there is provision made for them in the Will or under the rules which apply where no Will exists, then they will not be entitled to pursue a claim against the deceased’s estate.

This is not the case in England and Wales according to the Inheritance Act. Any person who has been dependent or was the spouse or civil partner of the deceased can pursue a claim against the deceased’s estate where they discover that the deceased had not made a Will. They can also make a claim if the deceased, having made a Will, had made little or no provision for them. 

For a person to be entitled to qualify as a claimant they either have to show their dependency or that they were the spouse or civil partner. Subject to the qualifying conditions, they must then establish no reasonable financial provision has been made for them.

The most common claims arise where by a person has cohabited with the deceased, where marriage has not taken place, and where they can be considered to be the civil partner of the deceased. 

The effect of a claim is that a claimant is seeking a redistribution of the deceased’s estate and this will affect other beneficiaries either under the Will or under the Intestacy Rules.  Beneficiaries, whether they like it or not, can then become embroiled in litigation. If the claim is successful, the costs of all parties are paid out of the estate before any distribution occurs.  It is therefore to everyone’s advantage to try and resolve a claim at a very early stage.

Q&A – cropped

For further information contact Rodney Jones on 0191 232 8345 or email rodney.jones@hay-kilner.co.uk