14 December, 2023
Inheritance is becoming increasingly important in maintaining living standards because earnings have been stagnant for more than a decade is the conclusion of a report by the Institute of Fiscal Studies. Inheritance is very important in helping many people pay off debts, buy a home and/or plan for their retirement.
Accordingly, it can be upsetting and come as a shock if an inheritance that had been expected does not materialise. There may not be anything that can be done if this happens because we are all free to leave our wealth to whomever we choose. However, one possibility that is open to certain people who are disappointed by the level of provision made for them is to bring a claim against the estate of the deceased for reasonable financial provision to be made for them. Such a claim is made under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 (IPFDA).
The Act sets out the categories of Claimant which include:
The Court will be concerned with answering two questions:
A surviving spouse is entitled to a higher standard of provision, namely such provision as is reasonable in all the circumstances. For everyone else, the provision to be made is limited to that which is reasonably required to meet their maintenance needs. This latter category is the focus of the discussion below.
The Act lists the criteria the Court must consider when deciding these two questions. These are:
The concept of maintenance was considered by the Supreme Court in Ilot v Mitson (No.2)  UKSC 17;  AC 545. The Court decided that:
The court has a power to award a lump sum, periodical payments or even the transfer of property. Awards are often framed to secure an applicant's housing needs, to subsidise an income deficit, to discharge debt, provide a contingency fund or fund the costs of retirement.
If you are in one of the categories of Claimants listed above and have been excluded from a loved ones Will, then we may be able to help you seek an award for reasonable financial provision.
The Contentious Trusts and Probate Team at Forbes have a wealth of experience of dealing with these types of claims. This is all we do. We act for individuals across the country and are committed to practising those things that constitute good service from a client's perspective:
We offer a range of price and payment options so that you can choose the one which best suits you including working on a no win, no fee arrangement. We are more than happy to speak with you initially for free and without any obligation.
Lucy is a fantastic solicitor who really is a credit to her profession. Like many probate cases, the personal circumstances surrounding my situation were sensitive and emotionally challenging. During what can often be a complex and emotive time for clients, having the right solicitor makes a considerable difference. Lucy, although always highly professional, exudes a warm and amiable manner that consistently demonstrates understanding and compassion. On a practical level, Lucy is knowledgeable, experienced and efficient. Easy to reach, Lucy swiftly responds to any questions or queries and is always happy to further explain things if necessary. I cannot thank Lucy enough for her tenacity as a solicitor and her warmth as a person."
Subject to our initial assessment of your case, we may be willing to take your claim on under a Condition Free Agreement, more commonly known as 'No win, no fee' agreements.
For more information contact John Lambe in our Contesting a Will department via email or phone on 01772 220 235. Alternatively send any question through to Forbes Solicitors via our online Contact Form.
Learn more about our Contesting a Will department here