Can a Will be challenged?
There is an Act of Parliament known as the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. Some changes were made to it by a later Act of Parliament (passed in 1995) and the net effect of these two acts is as follows:
If you are an eligible applicant (see below) and the deceased did not make reasonable financial provision for you, then you can make a claim through the courts, requesting that the division of the estate be altered. There may have been a Will, or an intestacy and a claim can be made in either case.
- Former Spouse who has not already re-married
- Co-habitee (i.e. anyone who for a period of two years immediately preceding the date of death was living in the same household as the deceased as husband and wife)
- Any person treated by the deceased as a child of the family
- Any other person who was being maintained in whole or part by the deceased immediately before the date of death
- The claim must be commenced within 6 months of the date of the grant of probate
- The court will consider the financial resources of the person claiming against the estate, other sources of income and capital, the moral obligations that would/should have been on the deceased, the value of the estate (i.e. how much money is really available for re-distribution), any physical/mental disability of the claimant and any other factors deemed to be relevant
- The definition of “reasonable financial provision” is slightly different for a surviving spouse. They would be entitled to expect a higher level of financial support than other categories of claimant and the court would interpret the definition of “reasonable” more generously in favour of such a claimant
Articles and Guides:
For further information please contact: