Inheritance Act Claims
Where someone is unhappy with the provision made for them in a Will or feel they have ‘lost out’ under the rules of intestacy (where there is no Will) they may wish to make a claim against the estate under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. This is commonly referred to as an ‘Inheritance Act claim’.
Inheritance Act claims can be complicated, with strict rules about who can claim, what they can claim and how long they have to make a claim. There is also the potential for significant conflict between family members with an interest in the estate, which can make these types of claims time-consuming, stressful and expensive to resolve if the right approach is not taken.
At IBB Law, we have exceptional specialist expertise in dealing with Inheritance Act claims. We have many years’ experience of acting for those making Inheritance Act claims, those defending them and the personal representatives who can often find themselves in the middle.
We work with a wide range of clients from all backgrounds. Our team has particular experience in Inheritance Act disputes related to high value estates, including those involving complex issues, such as foreign assets, family companies and charities.
Inheritance Act claims frequently involve family members and others with close relationships which they wish to preserve. We are sensitive to this and will work with you to find an amicable solution wherever possible.
It is often possible to resolve a potential Inheritance Act claim using alternative dispute resolution such as constructive negotiation, joint settlement meetings and mediation, avoiding the need for formal court proceedings. Avoiding unnecessary conflict can save everyone a lot of time, worry and legal costs.
Should court proceedings be necessary, our team of specialist litigation lawyers can advise you on how to make or defend an Inheritance Act claim, the likely outcomes and the costs involved. We can then provide expert representation, giving you the best chance of securing the outcome you seek.
Meet the team
Our expertise with Inheritance Act claims
IBB Law has many years of experience helping clients to bring and defend Inheritance Act claims. Offering high levels of specialist legal expertise and a sensitive but firm approach, we have earned a reputation for achieving favourable results for our clients under even the most challenging circumstances.
Our Wills and Probate team have achieved the Law Society’s Wills & Inheritance Quality accreditation, reflecting our strong expertise in this area of law.
Our contentious probate and Inheritance Act specialists Amanda Melton and Paul Grimwood are both members of The Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists (ACTAPS).
Amanda has been recognised by the Legal 500 for her expertise in handling contentious probate disputes, in particular the way she “combines exceptional professional knowledge with strong interpersonal skills” and for her “straight-talking approach and honesty”.
How our team can help with inheritance Act claims
There are strict rules around making an Inheritance Act claim, so it is important to seek specialist legal advice at the earliest opportunity. Only certain categories of applicants can make a claim and you will usually only have 6 months from the grant of probate or letters of administration to bring your claim.
You will only be able to claim ‘reasonable financial provision’ from the estate, so it is important to be clear about what your ‘reasonable’ needs are when entering into negotiations with the other side’s representatives or when issuing proceedings.
Our specialist contentious Wills, trusts and probate solicitors can advise you on whether you are eligible to claim, what you can realistically claim for and the options for achieving a successful outcome. We can then guide you through the process of negotiating a settlement or taking your Inheritance Act claim to court if required.
If you are the personal representatives of an estate on the receiving end of an Inheritance Act claim, you should seek expert legal advice straightaway. This can help to give you clarity over your legal position and what actions you should take in the best interests of the estate, and the beneficiaries.
Likewise, we can assist if you are a beneficiary under the Will or the rules on intestacy but someone else is making an Inheritance Act claim.
Our specialist contentious probate team can advise you on whether the claim has merit or not, the different ways you can respond and the likely outcomes. We will always be realistic about the potential costs involved, so you can make a sensible and informed decision that best preserves the value of the estate or your interest in it.
How we help to remove conflict from Inheritance Act claims
Achieving an out of court settlement is often the best option for potential Inheritance Act claims. If a claim goes to court, the legal costs involved can quickly eat into the value of the estate, which is in nobody’s best interests. Our team, therefore, prefers to use alternative dispute resolution methods, such as negotiation and education where possible. That said, our team have very strong skills in court litigation, so can provide first-rate legal support whatever approach is needed.
Mediation is a popular way of resolving inheritance disputes as it allows the parties and their legal representatives to meet with a view to agreeing an amicable outcome. This is done in the presence of a trained, neutral mediator, who will guide the process, clarify any legal points and try to defuse any unnecessary conflict.
Any agreement made at the mediation will be recorded in a settlement agreement or, if court proceedings have been issued, in a Tomlin order. This provides written evidence of what the parties agreed if this should later be required during any subsequent proceedings.
Key advantages of using mediation for Inheritance Act disputes include achieving a faster outcome, minimising legal costs, and keeping the matter private and confidential. One of our partners, Paul Grimwood, is a long established ADR Group Accredited Mediator (and online mediator), so we can provide truly specialist advice on preparing for and attending a mediation.
In the event that court proceedings are required, our contentious Wills, trusts and probate team can provide the specialist representation you need. Our team has extensive experience of pursuing and defending Inheritance Act claims in court, so we can ensure your case is prepared and presented effectively, giving you the best chance of securing the outcome you want.
We understand that many people find this process stressful and intimidating, but by explaining clearly what to expect and providing close personal support at every stage, we can keep your stress to a minimum.
Time limits for Inheritance Act claims
An Inheritance Act claim must generally be brought within 6 months of the date when a grant of probate is issued (if there is a Will) or a grant of letters of administration is issued (if there is no Will). However, you do not need to wait for a grant to be issued in order to bring a claim – you can do this at any point after the deceased has passed away. Nevertheless, it is important that you take specialist legal advice at the earliest opportunity.
In exceptional circumstances, the court may grant permission to bring an Inheritance Act claim outside of the usual 6 month time limit. However, you will need to make an application for permission and, since the outcome depends on the discretion of the judge, there is no guarantee that it will be successful.
To find out more about time limits for Inheritance Act claims, please get in touch.
Our contentious probate pricing
The costs involved in making or defending an Inheritance Act claim will depend entirely on the circumstances of your case. This includes how complex the issues are, how many parties there are and how willing the parties are to agree a resolution.
We always aim to be transparent with our pricing, so are more than happy to discuss the likely costs involved at the outset. This will include a clear breakdown of our hourly rates and the types of expenses that may be incurred as part of the process of resolving an Inheritance Act claim.
For more information on the costs associated with contesting a Will, making or defending an Inheritance Act claim or any other contentious probate matters, please get in touch.
Get tailored advice for dealing with an Inheritance Act claim
The information given here is intended for general information purposes only and should not be taken as legal advice.