Failure to make reasonable provision
If a Will or the Intestacy Rules (that apply where there is no Will) leave people close to the person who died without sufficient money to get by there is a special type of claim that can be brought. They can claim for ‘reasonable financial provision'.
The people who may be able to bring a claim for “reasonable financial provision” are:
- the husband, wife spouse or civil partner of the person who died;
- the previous husband, wife or civil partner (as long as the person who died had not re-married or formed another civil partnership);
- a child of the person who died;
- someone treated as a child of the family;
- someone who was dependant (financially reliant) on them immediately before they died;
- someone who was living with the person who died as their partner (co-habiting for at least 2 years).
- The right to alter the Will or Intestacy Rules is given by the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. But the person who died must have been living in England and Wales and the application must be made within 6 months of the grant of probate or letters of administration following their death.
How "reasonable financial provision" is assessed will depend on:
- the circumstances of the person claiming - their needs and any other resources they have
- The relationship of the person claiming with the person who died - the extent of any obligation or responsibility owed to them in the particular circumstances such as illness or disability.
- With a claim made by a husband, wife or civil partner, their age, length of marriage and contribution to the family will be considered.
- The assessment of a claim will also consider all other relevant factors including the funds available (size and nature of the estate of the person who died) and their responsibilities to anyone else.
Whether settled by agreement of using the court, the outcome can include regular “maintenance” payments, paying a lump sum, transfer, sale or purchase of property.
However cases do not have to go to court and can be negotiated with an out of court agreement. Sometimes we can use methods such as mediation to help families reach an agreement far more quickly.
Whether you want to make a claim or defend what you would otherwise receive, our lawyers have expertise in this area of law. But the time limits mean you should take advice as soon as possible. Our Free Initial Assessment service is available so you can find out if you have a situation where we can help.