When a person dies, their estate will be distributed in accordance with their Will. If they died without a valid Will, their estate will be distributed in accordance with the rules of intestacy (a set of rules that dictates who will inherit if there is no will). So, how you claim your inheritance will depend on the specific circumstances of your situation.
How do I claim my inheritance where I am named as a beneficiary in a will?
If you are named as a beneficiary in a will then the executor(s) has a duty to ensure that you are paid your legacy. Bear in mind that administering an estate can take time, so there may be justifiable reasons for a short delay in receiving your inheritance. If in doubt, ask for an update and an estimate of when you are likely to receive your legacy. If you believe that your share of the estate is being unreasonablly withheld (either intentionally or because of unacceptable delay) you can bring a claim against the executor of the will for not administering the estate in accordance with their legal duties. You should never embark on legal proceedings lightly, especially as there is a risk you could be ordered to pay another party's legal costs. For this reason we would always recommend that you seek professional legal advice from solicitors specialising in inheritance disputes. We would also encourage you to act promptly as there are time limits attached to these types of claims.
How do I claim if there is no will?
If no valid will has been left then the intestacy rules will determine who will inherit. If you are entitled to inherit under the rules of intestacy then you should contact the person who is administering the estate. If no one has stepped forward to administer the estate then you may be entitled to do so yourself.
How do I claim if I am not named in a will or entitled to inherit under the intestacy rules?
If you have no automatic entitlement to inherit because you were not named in the will or have no rights under the intestacy rules then you may be able to make a legal challenge. Your options might include:
1. Challenging the validity of the will.There are various grounds on which you can challenge the validity of a will. The most common are:
- lack of mental capacity
- undue influence
2. Making a claim under the Inheritance Act for financial provision
3. Making a claim based on a broken promise
How we can help you claim your inheritance
If you are experiencing difficulty in claiming your inheritance and need some help from specialist lawyers then you can call our free legal helpline. We will assess your case free of charge and let you know if it is something we can assist with, perhaps on a no win, no fee basis. Give us a call on 0808 139 1599 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org