The Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 allows certain family members and dependants of a deceased person to bring a claim for further financial provision where the Will of the deceased (or the rules of intestacy where no Will exists) fails to do so.
Those that can apply under the Act include the spouse or civil partner of the deceased, a former spouse or civil partner that has not since remarried or formed a further civil partnership, a child of the deceased, or any other person who immediately before the death of the deceased was being maintained by the deceased.
The Act entitles a Court to vary the distribution of the deceased’s estate so as to make reasonable financial provision from the estate for any person falling into the above categories. In the case of any family member or dependent applying under the Act, they will be entitled to such reasonable financial provision as is required for their maintenance. In the case of a spouse or civil partner however, the Court may vary the distribution of the Estate so as to entitle that person to reasonable financial provision from the Estate, whether or not that provision is required for their maintenance. In other words, a spouse or civil partner applying under the Act will generally have a greater entitlement than anyone applying within the other categories.
When deciding whether and to what extent to exercise its power to vary the distribution of the Estate so as to make or make further reasonable financial provision for the person applying under the Act, the Court will have regard to the following factors:
- The applicant’s current and future financial resources and needs;
- The current and future financial resources and needs of any other applicant;
- The current and future financial resources and needs of any other beneficiary of the Estate;
- Any obligations or responsibilities that the deceased had towards any applicant or beneficiary;
- The size and nature of the Estate;
- Any disability of any applicant or beneficiary;
- Any other matter (including the conduct of the applicant) that the Court considers relevant.
At Hewitts we regularly advise and represent clients in bringing and defending claims under the Act. If you require any assistance in connection with any dispute or matter relating to a Will or the administration of an Estate please contact a member of our Litigation team.