What is an Inheritance Act claim?

Making a claim under the Inheritance Act

So, what is an Inheritance Act claim?

The full name of the Inheritance Act is, the ‘Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975’. It is often abbreviated  simply to ‘the 1975 Act’.

The Inheritance Act, allows certain classes of people to challenge the Will of someone who has passed away and the financial provision made for them in the Will is insufficient, either because they have been left out of the Will entirely, or because the amount left to them is not sufficient.

The classes of people eligible to bring a claim under the 1975 Act are:

  • A spouse or civil partner;
  • A former spouse or civil partner, providing the have not remarried or registered a new civil partnership;
  • A cohabitee of the deceased, providing that they ‘were living as husband and wife’ for at least two years immediately before their death;
  • The deceased’s children, including ‘children of the family’ such as foster or step-children; and
  • Someone who was being financially maintained by the deceased.

Where the deceased has not made reasonable financial provision for the claimant, the Act allows the courts to adjust the provisions of their Will.

The courts will consider the following factors in determining whether reasonable financial provision was made:

  • The financial needs and resources of the claimant;
  • The financial needs and resources of any other claimants;
  • The financial needs and resources of any beneficiaries of the estate;
  • The size and nature of the estate;
  • Any disabilities (both physical and psychological) of any applicant or beneficiary; and
  • The conduct of the parties.

An Inheritance Act claim must be issued within six months from the date of the Grant of Probate. It may be possible to bring a claim after this period, though it is advisable to avoid missing the deadline as judges often refuse to allow claims out of time.

To find out more about making an inheritance claim and the kind of provision you can expect to receive, call our specialist inheritance team on our free legal helpline or send details of your case to us by email. We can often deal with Inheritance Act claims on a No Win, No Fee basis and can look at this as part of the free case assessment.

Call 0333 888 0407, use this form to request a free consultation, or send an email to us at [email protected]



What is an Inheritance Act claim?