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The danger of Inheritance Act claims

A recent case has illustrated the dangers of disputing the Will of a family member under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act.

The case of Shepton v Seviour made national press due to comments from Deputy Master Lloyd concluding the claim was “absolutely hopeless” and “never stood a reasonable prospect of success”.

The case follows recent trends of adults bringing claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. 

The deceased left his entire estate of £268,000 to his wife of 17 years.  80% of the estate was tied up in the home they had shared.  The wife had lost her husband to brain cancer in 2016, and was then diagnosed with motor neurone disease.  She had therefore lost her husband’s income and her own job in short succession.  She depended on state benefits.

The claimant was a child of the deceased from a previous marriage.  She was aged 32, married and said to be living a comfortable life, albeit with some credit card debt that had built up over time. 

She brought a claim, no doubt following another recent case, Ilott v Mitson, where an estranged, adult daughter obtained approximately 10% of an estate.

Unsurprisingly, the Court ruled in favour of the wife.  The Defendant stood her ground, relying on the Court to conclude that her needs were significantly greater than the step daughter’s.   Apparently no substantial offer was forthcoming – the only offers made were to allow the Claimant to walk away without paying costs. Failing to accept that offer could have led to a bill to the unsuccessful Claimant of around £50,000.

Be wary of making claims against the Inhertiance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, it could end up costing more than you receive.

If a claim is being made against your estate or you would like to put forward a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, our experienced Solicitors can provide honest and reliable legal advice.

Contact Linder Myer’s Head of Litigation and probate dispute specialist, Andrew Leakey on 0800 042 0700 or email him direct at andrewleakey@metamorph.co.uk

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