If you believe you are entitled to something from someone’s Will, you may be able to make a claim, but beware of the time limits.
If a relative dies and you have not inherited what you feel you have a right to, you may be able to make a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975.
It may be that you believe you were left less than you are entitled to, that you have been left nothing, or that because there is no Will you have not been made a beneficiary.
If you can show that you are entitled to ‘reasonable financial provision’ then you can ask the court to grant you a share of the estate.
How long do you have to make an inheritance claim?
The Inheritance Act has a strict time limit for making a claim of six months from the date of the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration.
In very exceptional circumstances this may be extended to allow a late claim, but as a rule you must stick to the six month deadline.
What is the missing beneficiary time limit?
If you have not been included as a beneficiary in a Will, the time limit to claim any inheritance you believe you are entitled to is six months.
If you are named as a beneficiary in a Will, but have not received your share of the estate (perhaps because the executor of the Will has been unable to locate you), you have 12 years to make a claim.
This is known as the 12 year limitation period and relates solely to claims around an existing interest in the estate, rather than disagreements over whether you should be given a share or how much you’re entitled to.
Who is entitled to claim an inheritance?
The following are eligible to claim under the Inheritance Act:
- A spouse or civil partner may make a claim under the Inheritance Act,
- A former spouse or civil partner where they have not remarried,
- A person living in the same household as the deceased for at least two years prior to the date of death
- A child of the deceased
- Anyone who was treated as a child of the family (such as stepchildren)
- Anyone who was being financially maintained by the deceased.
What will the court consider in inheritance claims?
The court will look at the applicant’s financial resources and needs as well as their future needs. This could include whether they are employed, able to work, have a dependent family or are a carer.
The physical and mental capacity of the applicant will be considered along with the obligations the deceased may have had to them.
The financial resources and needs of the beneficiaries under the Will are also taken into account, together with the size of the estate.
Other factors such as the applicant’s behaviour towards the deceased will also carry weight.
The court will not simply ignore the wishes of the deceased, so it is important to put together as persuasive a case as possible.
It is also essential not to miss the six-month deadline for making the claim.
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To speak with one of our specialist Wills & Probate Lawyers, please call us now on 0117 952 0698 or Make A Free Will Enquiry and we will discuss your current circumstances with you and explain all available options available to you.