Inheritance Disputes

Making a dependency claim 

If you were supported by someone who has died and feel that the will fails to provide for you adequately, you can claim for weekly or monthly payments or lump sum under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975. The act specifies four categories of claimants:

  1. the surviving spouse

  2. a cohabitee who lived with the deceased for at least two years

  3. children; legitimate, illegitimate or adopted; and any other child, such as a stepchild, supported by the deceased and treated as her or his own

  4. others supported by the deceased such as an elderly relative, or anyone receiving regular maintenance from the deceased.

If the case goes to court, it will be heard in the Chancery Division or the Family Division of the High Court unless the estate is worth less than £30,000, when it is heard in the county court. The court will consider your needs and resources, the financial status of other applicants for the claim, the needs and resources of the beneficiaries of the will, the deceased person’s obligations and responsibilities to you, the size of the estate, and any mental or physical disabilities (such as limited mobility or dementia) you or the beneficiaries may have.

The right to make an application under this law runs out six months after the Grant of Probate. Anyone waiting to make a claim needs to take urgent legal advice.  


Cohabitee’s right

Your partner, with whom you lived for fifteen years, died without leaving a will. He always assured you that you would want nothing when he had gone, but now his estranged wife insists that she has first claim on his estate.  

The estranged wife has an automatic right to the bulk of the estate under the intestacy rules, but you can still make a claim for financial provision.

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For more information on:

  • Illegitimate child
  • Foster grandchild