In a world filled with uncertainty, ensuring the financial well-being of your loved ones after you’re gone is a top priority. However, even the best-laid plans can sometimes fall short, leaving family members and dependents facing unexpected financial challenges. That’s where the Inheritance (Provision for Family & Dependants) Act 1975 (IPFD Act) comes into play. This act provides a lifeline for those who believe they haven’t been fairly provided for in a deceased person’s estate. In this article, we’ll explore the IPFD Act, how it works, and how you can make a claim for provision or greater provision from an estate.
Understanding the IPFD Act 1975
The IPFD Act 1975, a crucial piece of UK legislation, serves to address situations where the last will of the deceased (the Testator) or, the intestacy provisions which apply where there is no valid will, does not adequately provide for certain family members or dependents. It recognises that in some cases, the testator’s will may not accurately reflect their intentions or, the intestacy provisions fail to provide for changes in circumstances.
Who Can Make a Claim?
The IPFD Act allows specific individuals to make a claim for provision or greater provision from an estate. These individuals include:
- Spouse or Civil Partner: A surviving spouse or civil partner of the deceased who has not received reasonable financial provision under the will or through intestacy.
- Former Spouse or Civil Partner: Even if divorced, a former spouse or civil partner may make a claim if they haven’t remarried, and they haven’t received reasonable financial provision.
- Children: This category includes biological and adopted children, as well as adult children who may still be financially dependent on the deceased.
- Dependents: Individuals who were financially dependent on the deceased, such as cohabiting partners or others who can demonstrate dependency on the deceased.
What Constitutes “Reasonable Financial Provision”?
The concept of “reasonable financial provision” is at the heart of IPFD Act claims. The courts consider various factors when determining what is reasonable, including the financial needs and resources of the claimant, the deceased’s estate, the needs and financial resources of other beneficiaries, and any obligations the deceased had towards the claimant.
Making a Claim Under the IPFD Act
If you believe that you are eligible to make a claim under the IPFD Act, the process typically involves the following steps:
- Seek Legal Counsel: Consult with a solicitor experienced in inheritance disputes. They can provide guidance on the strength of your claim and assist you throughout the process.
- Mediation or Negotiation: In many cases, disputes can be resolved through negotiation or mediation without the need for court proceedings. Your solicitor can help facilitate these discussions.
- Court Proceedings: If negotiations fail, court proceedings may become necessary. The court will carefully consider all relevant factors and evidence before making a decision.
- The Court’s Decision: The court can make various orders, including altering the distribution of the estate, making specific financial provision, or dismissing the claim. The goal is to ensure that the claimant receives what the court deems to be “reasonable financial provision.”
Strict Time Limit
There is a strict time limit of six months from the date of probate or letters of administration to file a claim. As, such it is crucial to act promptly if you believe you have a valid claim under the IPFD Act because failure to meet this deadline may jeopardize your ability to seek provision from the estate.
The Inheritance (Provision for Family & Dependants) Act 1975 serves as a vital safety net, ensuring that those who are financially dependent on a deceased person are not left without support. If you find yourself in a situation where you believe you haven’t received reasonable financial provision from an estate, don’t hesitate to seek legal advice. The IPFD Act is designed to safeguard the interests of family members and dependents, making sure they are adequately provided for, even in the face of a challenging inheritance situation.
Get in touch with Deborah Francis to discuss your matter in more detail.