You may have seen, in the Sun newspaper recently, that Monty Python actor Terry Jones’ adult children are purportedly in the process of challenging his Will which, it is thought, provided mainly for his second wife, Anna Soderstrom.
With increasing volumes of reports in the media about high profile Will disputes such as these, it follows that more and more people are beginning to question the reasonableness of their own inheritances (or lack thereof).
Topics to be answered in this article
What are these claims and who can make them?
These inheritance claims are made against the deceased’s estate for reasonable financial provision where such provision had not already been made for the applicant (either by the deceased’s Will or by the rules of intestacy). They are commonly made by issuing proceedings under the 1975 Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.
These claims exist to provide for those who received the financial support of the deceased during the deceased’s lifetime. So, whilst disputes between the deceased’s widow or cohabiting partner and the deceased’s children are perhaps amongst the most common actions that we see in the press and as contentious probate lawyers, there are other, fairly limited, categories of people who can claim including current and former spouses and civil partners (as long as the latter has not remarried or entered into a subsequent civil partnership), non-biological children and any other persons who had been financially maintained by the deceased.
What should I do if I think I have a claim?
If you believe that you ought to have inherited (or inherited more) from someone who has recently passed away, because you are their current or former spouse, partner, child or otherwise maintained by them in some way during their lifetime, you should act quickly in seeking legal advice.
1975 Act claims are complex in nature and must be made promptly. By promptly, I mean that the claim should be filed at court not later than 6 months after the grant of probate or grant of letters of administration has been taken out by the executor or personal representative.
How can Goughs help?
Our specialist team is here to help resolve your dispute. Our solicitors are well experienced in dealing with a wide variety of disputes relating to Wills, Estates, Trusts and Court of Protection issues. If you’re in need of legal advice with regard to an inheritance dispute, or if you believe you have reason to dispute any aspect of an inheritance, our expert dispute team are here for you. Contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org, or fill in the form below.