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What is the Inheritance (Provision for Family & Dependants) Act 1975 (I(PFD)A 1975)?

An act with the sole purpose of enabling the Courts to make an order for the benefit of a Spouse or Civil Partner, former Spouse or Civil Partner, Child, Child of the Family or somebody else who is dependent on the deceased who has not made provision for them in their Will.

What About Me?

When family is involved things can be complicated. When family members die, complications can become catastrophic. From my experience in both Will Drafting and Estate Administration, together with a little bit of personal experience, I have seen families as close as a nut slowly crumble. Often it is the little things that push us over the edge when in pressurised environments. However, being excluded from the Will of a close family member who has helped and supported you over time is not a ‘little thing’. In fact, it can be the catalyst for financial crisis.

For illustration purposes, let’s make up an example; uncle Frank has been paying towards his favourite niece’s rent for a couple of years now because she works when she can but is still a student having gone back to University to pivot her career. He doesn’t make a Will because he believes he doesn’t need to as the Rules of Intestacy will mean that his sons will share his Estate. So, favourite niece, Lucy, who has been reliant upon that support is now in a bit of a pickle.

That’s what he wanted.

As we have already established, Frank didn’t make a Will because he has two children and he knows that the Rules of Intestacy will mean that they will inherit his Estate. He just simply has not considered the arrangement he has made with Lucy. When Frank dies, his sons have no idea that their dad was helping Lucy. So, as far as they are concerned, “that’s what he wanted – everything to just be split between the boys”.

What Can be Done?

The I(PFD)A 1975 outlines who might be capable of bringing a claim in the Estate. The act specifically provides that any person from the following class who was dependant on the deceased immediately before they died, either wholly or partly, can make an application to the Court for an Order due to the terms of their Will and or the Rules of Intestacy not making reasonable provision for them. A person who could bring a claim are defined in the act to be either:

  • the spouse or civil partner of the deceased;
  • a former spouse or former civil partner of the deceased, but not having re-marriage or entered into another civil partnership;
  • a child of the deceased;
  • any person (not being a child of the deceased) who in relation to any marriage or civil partnership to which the deceased was at any time a party, or otherwise in relation to any family in which the deceased at any time stood in the role of a parent, was treated by the deceased as a child of the family;
  • any person who immediately before the death of the deceased was being maintained, either wholly or partly, by the deceased;

So, with evidence that Lucy was reliant immediately before uncle Frank died then she could potentially bring a claim in the Estate.

#TeamTassells has an abundance of specialist experience in Private Client matters. For more information about how we can assist you, contact a member of the team on 01795 533 337.

This blog was written by Jack Gould, Paralegal – jackgould@tassells.law