Inheritance disputes & the Inheritance Act 1975

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Have you lost a loved one and not been provided for adequately or at all, whether under a Will or under the Intestacy Rules? If so, all is not lost.


Will challenges

Even if there is a will this may still be open to challenge in certain circumstances;

  1. If the will has not been validly executed in accordance with strict rules. For example, if it has not been signed and witnessed correctly;
  2. If the deceased’s mental health was poor at the time the will was made so that there was a lack of capacity;
  3. If the deceased did not make the will of their own free will but rather as a result of undue influence or pressure by others;
  4. Where, because of poor mental health at the time the will was made, the deceased did not know or approve the contents of the will;
  5. If the will is fraudulent or a forgery;
  6. Where the will does not make reasonable financial provision for you in the particular circumstances, in which case see further below.


The Inheritance Act 1975

The Inheritance Act 1975 provides legal protection for people who have not been given a reasonable financial provision, either under a will or under the Intestacy Rules. (Intestacy Rules set out how to distribute the deceased’s assets when they did not have a will.)

How do I know if I can make a claim under the Inheritance Act 1975?

Where the provision under a will or under the Intestacy Rules does not make reasonable financial provision for you and you fall within one, or more, of the categories below, you may still be able to ask the court to make an award in your favour.

You may be eligible to make a claim if you are;

  1. The wife or husband of the deceased or surviving civil partner;
  2. The former wife, husband or civil partner of the deceased who has not remarried;
  3. The co-habitant of the deceased for a period of at least two years immediately before the deceased’s death;
  4. A child of the deceased (including an adult child);
  5. A person who has been treated by the deceased as though you were a child of the family;
  6. A person who immediately before the death of the deceased was being maintained wholly or in part by the deceased.

When do I need to lodge a claim under the Inheritance Act?

The general rule is that claims under the Inheritance Act must be commenced at court within 6 months from the date of the grant of Probate or Letters of Administration.

If you miss this time limit, any claim that you may have had is likely to fail. In exceptional circumstances, this strict time limit may be extended by the court but this cannot be guaranteed so do not delay.


Get in touch

Contact us without delay if you wish to discuss a potential inheritance Act claim or challenge to a will.

Our Inheritance Dispute Solicitors

Ian Cranefield

Consultant Solicitor

Tony Pearce, consultant solicitor at Richard Nelson LLP

Tony Pearce

Consultant Solicitor

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What we do...

If you think you may be eligible to make a claim under the Inheritance Act, or you wish to challenge a will, it is important that you do not delay.

We can give you realistic advice about the prospects of your claim and the likely value of any claim, to enable you to make an informed decision about going ahead with a claim.

If you decided you do wish to make a claim, we can guide you through the whole process. Our experienced inheritance dispute solicitors can lodge your claim and ensure that your claim is robustly represented in court.

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