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The Inheritance - The legal bits

View profile for Emma Manifold
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The new drama recentlystarted on Channel 5 ‘The Inheritance’, has been very popular with audiences and gives an interesting insight faced by many following the loss of a parent or very close family member. The drama, which has a star-studded cast with the likes of Larry Lamb, Gaynor Faye and Samamtha Bond is the story of three siblings, whose lives are thrown into turmoil following the unexpected death of their father, whom they discover has left them nothing in his will. Upon discovery they have increasing concerns about their father’s lifestyle and his capacity at the time of making his revised will. 
From those who have been left out of a will entirely, individuals who receive less then they were expecting, or where there is no will, there a record number of these inheritance disputes now going through the courts, as modern family structures and rising house prices push more people to contest unfavourable outcomes with regards to their inheritance. 
There has been a steady increase in these cases, particularly following the high-profile cases such as Ilott v Mitson. This case involved an estranged adult daughter successfully challenging her mother’s will and decisions in that will to leave money to animal charities. 
Making a claim 
If you have been left out of a family member’s will, or if you don’t think you’ve been left enough, then you may be able to make a claim against the estate for reasonable financial provision under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. However it’s important to note there are certain criteria and time frames which you must adhere to be entitled to make a claim. 
Who can bring a claim – there is a relationship criteria but essentially this can:- 
• a spouse
• a former spouse
• a child of the deceased
• any person who cohabited continuously for two or more years
• anyone who immediately before the death was being maintained wholly or in part
The factors the court will look at:- 
• Your own financial resource and needs
• The size and nature of the deceased's estate 
• Any obligations and responsibilities the deceased owed 
• Financial provision for physical and mental disabilities 
Act quickly
The time limit for making a claim under the 1975 Act is six months after the grant of probate is taken out. 
Take legal advice 
Whether you feel you have been unfairly left out of a will, not been adequately provided for, or you are acting as an executor and somebody else is contesting the will, our specialist lawyers can help. Should you need advice please contact our Emma Manifold in our contested probate team.