Making a claim for inheritance can often be quite complicated, they are usually made under the terms of the Inheritance Act. The situation can also be quite emotional as it is often former spouses or children of the deceased whom have been left out of the will.
The Act allows inheritance claims to be made, thereby giving a person the right to apply to become a beneficiary from the estate of someone who has died. They can also apply to become a greater beneficiary if they think that they should have been left more.
Inheritance claims made under the Act aim to resolve the redistribution of a deceased person’s estate and the people who were beneficiaries as well as the person making the application. The main grounds for making the claim focus on the claim that ‘reasonable’ financial provision was not made within the will. In other words the person would have been reasonable to expect to be included within the will.
There are certain criteria for qualifying for application. For example, if you were the mistress of a person who is deceased then you cannot argue that you ought to have been included simply because you were in love with the person who died. Instead you would need to be able to prove in legal terms that you were being maintained (either wholly maintained or partly maintained) by the person who has died.
You can be a former spouse or a former civil partner who can claim if you have not formed another civil partnership or marriage, but if you are a mistress or a lover, without being wholly or partly maintained, then you will not be eligible to lodge an application for an inheritance claim. However, if you are a child or with your siblings, you are the children of the deceased, then inheritance claims can be lodged.
One feature of inheritance claims made under this Act, is that the applicant needs to be alive when the application is made via probate solicitors and they must stay alive until the whole of the matter is resolved.
Finally – if you’re making an inheritance claim there are two things you need to bear in mind. Firstly this is a complex area of law and you will need a avocat partage. Secondly, bear in mind that internal family battles over the estate of a loved one can result in some respects that last for generations – before you get involved with contesting a will, do consider whether you’re prepared to pay the price.