Can I contest a will on the grounds that I’m not included in it? Find out by calling our free legal helpline on 0808 139 1596 or sending brief details to us by email.
Unlike some other countries, people in the UK are free to leave their money and property to whoever they wish. However, this can result in close family members, or people who were dependant on the deceased, being left out and suffering severe financial hardship.
To remedy these situations, the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act was introduced. The Inheritance Act was intended to provide protection to people who had been financially dependant on someone who has passed away and where their will (or the intestacy rules) had not made adequate provision for them.
The Inheritance Act can assist children, spouses, ex spouses, co-habitees and civil partners. The Inheritance Act can also assist anyone who was being financially supported by the deceased, for instance living in a home which was owned by them.
Under the Inheritance Act you can ask the court to make financial provision for you, regardless of what the deceased might have said in their will or what the intestacy rules state if they made no will.
The court will take into account your ‘needs and resources’ as well as those of any beneficiaries. Other factors which the court will consider are age, health, the length of any marriage and conduct.
Inheritance Act claims are different to other forms of contesting a will as there is no need to prove that the will is invalid; simply that it is unfair.
Anyone thinking about contesting a will on the grounds that you are not included in it by making an Inheritance Act claim will need to act fast. Very strict time limits apply and court proceedings must be commenced within six months of a grant of representation being made. If you are already out of time however, do not despair. The court does have discretion to allow late Inheritance Act claims, but it is vital to act quickly once you become aware of your right to make an inheritance claim.
We are often able to deal with these cases on a no win, no fee basis, so don’t let worries about funding legal costs put you off.