When a loved one dies, all family members left behind will want the distribution of their estate to run as smoothly as possible. The aftermath of their death is already a difficult, emotional time; when disputes arise, it can cause more strain and tension. Many close relatives of the deceased believe that they are entitled to a benefit and could attempt to bring a claim against the estate. No matter whether you are looking to bring a claim or defend against one, it is recommended that you seek the help of a probate specialist to retrieve expert legal advice.
Here at Van Eaton Solicitors in Streatham Hill, we have years of experience in helping our clients build their claims and providing specialist advice to see whether a case is worth pursuing. Fighting for your right to inheritance can be a difficult process, but an important one, nonetheless.
The Deceased Left No Will – Can I Still Inherit?
It is highly recommended that everyone makes a will in their lifetime. Not only does this ensure that your assets are distributed as you would want, but it could save a lot of upset following your death. When you die without leaving a will, your assets are distributed according to the ‘rules of intestacy.’ This sets out exactly who is entitled to what; it starts with your spouse or civil partner, then moves down throughout your close relatives. Unfortunately, if you were simply cohabitating partners and you were not married, you will not be able to inherit under the rules.
Sometimes, a deceased person’s estate can fall into the possession of someone who was not in contact with the deceased if they did not leave a will. For instance, if a parent has cut a child out of their life, the child will still be entitled to their estate if they died intestate. You can find out more in our previous blog post here.
Can I Make a Claim as the Deceased’s Child if I Have Been Left Out?
Following on from our previous point, if the deceased did make a will but left a child out, it is unlikely that the adult child will be able to make a claim unless there are overriding circumstances. If the child has reason to believe that the will was made invalidly, they may be able to make a claim by seeking legal advice. Children can also make a claim under the Inheritance Act 1975 if their parent has left them without sufficient financial provisions. However, you will have to prove that you were financially dependent on the deceased and as a fit and healthy adult child of the deceased this would be difficult though not impossible.
Our probate specialists here at Van Eaton Solicitors can help investigate your claim and find evidence to help build your case. We will always be honest about the stability of your case, and we work to keep your claim out of court wherever possible.
Can I make a Claim Under the Inheritance Act 1975?
If you are a close relative of a deceased person, but you were not provided with any assets in their will, you may wish to refer to the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. There are certain criteria that must be followed; you must either be the deceased’s spouse/civil partner or child before making a claim. If you were in a relationship with the deceased for at least two years, or you were treated like a child by them, you may also be eligible to make a claim. If you were financially dependent on the deceased, there are steps you can take.
You must state that the deceased has left you without significant financial provisions. Our will dispute solicitors can help you with your case, as it is highly recommended that you seek legal advice wherever possible.
Do I Have to Pay Inheritance Tax?
The executors of a will are usually the ones to pay any inheritance tax before they distribute the assets and estate. Inheritance tax may already have been deducted from your share of the inheritance, and how much you pay all depends on how much you receive. Inheritance tax is payable on excess of over £325,000 at 40%. There are also exemptions from paying inheritance tax if the deceased leaves everything above the £325,000 threshold to their spouse, civil partner, a charity or amateur sports club.
If you have any probate or inheritance issues or worries that you believe can be made clearer with expert legal advice, do not hesitate to get in touch. Our probate specialists can analyse your case and help you gather the necessary evidence needed, hopefully keeping any legal proceedings as stress-free as possible. To find out more, or to receive a free consultation, please give us a call on 0208 769 6739. Alternatively, you can fill out our online form here.