Our team of legal experts understand the stress when a loved one passes away. Combining this with our working knowledge of contested probate law allows us to provide a high quality service to each of our clients no matter how complex the situation. We regularly deal with all aspects of contested probate and will work alongside our clients to ensure that where possible we can assist them in making a claim under the The Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) (IPFD) Act 1975.
It is often difficult from the outset of the matter to provide an exact timescale for dealing with this type of application, although we can advise you on an estimate of the time involved and costs at the initial consultation. As leading probate lawyers, we are able to provide you with carefully tailored advice on your situation through meticulous planning and discussion. Our probate advice will involve advising you on all of your options regarding contentious probate and why some courses of action will be more relevant to you than others.
What does the Act do?
The Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 enables a select group of individuals to apply to the Court and make a claim against a deceased person’s estate. This is done where they allege that the deceased did not make reasonable financial (or that akin to financial) provisions for them either through a Will or in line with the rules of intestacy (no Will).
Who can make a claim?
The classes of applicant who may bring a claim is defined under the Act and includes:
- the spouse or civil partner of the deceased
- a person who, for the two years prior to the death, was residing with the deceased as if they were a spouse or civil partner
- a child of the deceased
- a person who was treated as a child of the family by the deceased
- the former spouse or civil partner of the deceased (as long as that person has not remarried/entered into a subsequent civil partnership)
- any other person who was maintained, wholly or partly, by the deceased immediately prior to their death.
The deceased must have died in, and been domiciled in, England and Wales.
A person is deemed as being maintained by the deceased where they were financially supported or partially dependant on the deceased during their lifetime and that maintenance continued immediately death. This can include monetary maintenance in the form of regular payments or large gifts. A provision of housing can also be deemed as maintenance, such as the deceased allowing the claimant to live in their property either rent free or at a nominal or reduced rent.
Spouse or Civil Partner
Where the applicant is a spouse or civil partner, as a starting point, the Court will take into account what each partner would have likely received had the marriage or civil partnership been terminated by divorce or dissolution rather than death.
Therefore, factors including, age of the applicant, the length of the marriage/civil partnership and the applicant’s contribution to the welfare of the deceased’s home and family will all be considered, including looking after the home and caring for the family.
For children, the court will consider the manner in which the child might be expected to be educated or trained. For individuals treated like a child of the deceased, the court will also look at factors including:
- Whether the deceased maintained them and the duration of which they were maintained.
- The extent of the maintenance e.g financial, housing, or other.
- Whether the deceased assumed responsibility for maintaining the applicant
- Whether the deceased maintained the individual knowing that they were not their own child.
- The liability on any other person to maintain the applicant.
What can the Court do?
The Court has wide discretion with numerous options available when making an order. The following orders are common place:
- The Court could award a lump sum to be paid to the applicant, either for general use or a particular purpose.
- The Court can order smaller amounts of periodic payments to be made to the applicant for maintenance.
- Where parties are arguing over a specific property, The Court may order that it be sold and proceeds split. Alternatively, that the property should be transferred to just one of the parties.
- The Court could hold that any property is to be held in trust for particular beneficiaries and/ or the applicant.
If you are unsure as to whether the act would apply to your specific circumstances, please call us today for a no obligation chat.
At Ansham White Solicitors, we pride our self on our customer focused approach. The founding Director, Shamim Ibrahim has 20+ years of experience in dealing with private client and probate matters. Throughout this time, she has built up and trained a team of individuals whom maintain her high quality standard of work to ensue that our clients receive professional yet personable advice throughout their divorce.
Please call us today to arrange an initial fixed fee consultation, our probate team will be more than happy to help. We have offices based in North Harrow and the City of London which have nearby parking and good transport links. If you are calling from overseas or are unable to attend our office, we are able to conduct a video consultation via either Zoom or Microsoft Teams.