Have you been left out of a will where you feel you should have received something? Have you received something but not enough?


Are you struggling financially and feel that you should be entitled to some provision from the estate? If this sounds like you, and you fit within the category of ‘eligible claimants,’ you may be able to make a claim under the Inheritance Act.

On the opposite side, you may be the executor or beneficiary of an estate facing the prospect of having to defend against a claim brought under the Inheritance Act.

Either way, as specialists in contentious probate, we have successfully represented hundreds of clients both making and defending claims under the Inheritance Act.

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What is the Inheritance Act 1975?

Claiming under the  Inheritance Act 1975


1. It is a claim for provision from an estate where you feel that you have not been left with reasonable financial provision where you should have
2. It is not a claim to contest or challenge a will. If you are are concerned about a will and may be looking to contest, see here.

For example, you have lived with your partner for years, but never married and have now been left with no provision on their death, or where you have been financially dependent on the deceased person, who has left no provision for you on death. In such circumstances, you may be able to bring a claim under the Inheritance Act.  See case studies. 

Things to take into account

Not everyone is entitled to make a claim under the Inheritance Act. In fact, the law limits the claims to the following specific set of people: 


  • A spouse or civil partner (current or former*) of the Deceased; 
  • A child of the Deceased; 
  • A person treated like a child of the Deceased; 
  • A person who, immediately before the death of the Deceased, was being wholly or partly maintained by the Deceased; 
  • A person who, during the two years prior to the Deceased’s death, was living in the same household as the Deceased as if they were married or civil partners (i.e. cohabiting unmarried partners). 


* A former spouse or civil partner is only eligible if they have not remarried or formed a new civil partnership. 

What is ‘reasonable’ is dependent on a number of circumstances listed in the Inheritance Act, including: 

  • Your financial need now and in the future 
  • Others’ financial need now and in the future; 
  • The obligations and responsibilities which the Deceased had to you and others; 
  • The size and nature of the estate; 
  • Yours and others’ health; 
  • Any other relevant factors. 

For spouses and civil partners, the following factors are also taken into account: 

  • The spouse’s / civil partner’s age; 
  • The duration of the marriage; and 
  • The contribution made by the spouse / civil partner to the welfare of the family of the Deceased. 

Spouses or civil partners of the Deceased are entitled to claim for what is ‘reasonable’ in all the circumstances, irrespective of whether that provision is needed for their maintenance.  

On the contrary, all other claimants e.g. children or cohabiting partners of the Deceased, are entitled to claim only for what is ‘reasonable’ for their maintenance.  

Claims of this nature are very circumstance dependant and cannot be made simply because you are disappointed that you did not receive anything. There are a number of things that we must consider when assessing the viability and merit of such claims and so if you fit into any of the above categories and wish to consider a claim, please do get in touch. 

An important point to note if you are considering a claim under the Inheritance Act is that a claim must be brought with the Court within 6 months of the date of the Grant of Probate / Grant of Letters of Administration, otherwise, you will require the Courts permission to bring a claim.  

If you have any concerns about time limits or the Grant has already been obtained, please do get in touch to discuss your options. 

Defending an Inheritance Act Claim


If you are an executor or beneficiary of an estate, you may find yourself in a position where you need to defend against a claim brought under the Inheritance Act.

Irrespective of whether you are an executor or a beneficiary – and it is common for people to wear two hats – you will be a defendant to any claim brought against an estate under the Inheritance Act. As an executor, you must adopt a neutral position and you will have certain obligations to provide information to the parties concerning the size and nature of the estate. If you are a beneficiary, then you can choose to either remain neutral or to actively defend the claim.

Whichever position you find yourself in, we have the expertise to guide you through to a successful outcome.

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