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Inheritance Act Claims – Secure Your Financial Provision

3rd June 2024 by Rob Kelly

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If someone has died and has not made any, or reasonable, financial provision for you from their estate, you may be able to make a claim for financial provision from their estate. We look at who can claim and how much they might receive.

It can be distressing to find that you have not been provided for from the estate of a loved one. The Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 (the Inheritance Act) allows certain individuals to make a claim against the estate.

Who can make an Inheritance Act claim?

The Inheritance Act allows the following individuals to make a claim:

  • A spouse or civil partner
  • A former spouse or former civil partner, provided that they have not remarried or entered into a new marriage or civil partnership
  • The cohabiting partner, provided they were living with the deceased for at least two years prior to the date of death
  • A child of the deceased
  • Anyone the deceased treated as their child
  • Anyone supported financially by the deceased at the date of their death

How much can you claim under the Inheritance Act?

A spouse or civil partner can make a claim for ‘such financial provision as it would be reasonable in all the circumstances of the case for a husband or wife to receive, whether or not that provision is required for his or her maintenance.’ In practice, this could be a similar sum to that which they would have received if they had divorced or dissolved the civil partnership. All other individuals are entitled to make a claim for ‘reasonable financial provision’.

What is reasonable financial provision?

If the court is asked to decide what reasonable financial provision is, it will consider the following points:

  • The financial resources you have available to you and that will be available to you in the foreseeable future
  • Your financial needs both now and in the foreseeable future
  • The financial resources and needs of the other beneficiaries and any other potential claimants
  • The deceased’s obligations and responsibilities
  • The size of the estate
  • Any physical or mental disability of any beneficiary or potential claimant
  • Anything else which the court considers relevant

In the case of Ilott v Mitson [2017], the Supreme Court considered a case where an estranged daughter had been disinherited by her mother, who had left her estate to be divided between a number of charities.

The daughter had five children and lived in Housing Association accommodation. Her main source of income was state benefits.

The court said that reasonable financial provision did not include everything that a claimant might want, nor was it limited to just subsistence. It will sometimes be appropriate to award a lump sum, although capital which can appreciate is more than just maintenance and, therefore, more than a reasonable financial provision. If there is a need for housing on the part of the claimant, a life interest is usually a better option.

The court also took into account the long estrangement that had taken place, saying that this should be regarded as a significant factor. It also noted the testator’s wishes that her daughter should not inherit anything and that if she made a claim, the executors should defend this.

In this case, a lump sum of £50,000 would allow Mrs Ilott to purchase white goods and other items she required, leaving a small enough sum that would not affect her entitlement to means-tested benefits.

Contact us

If you would like to speak to one of our expert contentious probate lawyers, please call Rob Kelly on 01202 377871 or email

Rob Kelly

Senior Associate Solicitor — Dispute Resolution

Direct dial: 01202 377871


Rob Kelly
  • “Rob Kelly has been absolutely exceptional in resolving this litigation and so thorough in everything and basically gave the opposition a masterclass of his work that he is so good at.”

    Paul Jeffcoate - Contentious Probate Client

  • “I have had the pleasure of working with several members of the team at Laceys regularly over a period of years. I found Rob Kelly in particular, who worked on a successful litigation case for me over a period of several years to be outstanding in all aspects of the work he undertook, and the manner in which he did it. I now consider him a friend. I would not - and have not - hesitated to recommend Laceys to my family and friends, and continue to use them for all legal matters.”

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  • “ I just wanted to thank you for your great work on the professional negligence case and other cases you have represented Indian Ocean and Tiien through the last few years.”

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  • “A case that was initially very straightforward became difficult and, for me, very frustrating. Rob Kelly's calm, lucid and very professional advice and planning were invaluable and led to a good outcome.”

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Rob practices in two main, complimentary areas of work – contentious wills, probate and trust disputes, and property disputes.

Contentious wills, probate and trusts

More than half of Rob’s time is spent dealing with the contentious aspects of wills, probate and trusts, an area in which he has practiced continuously for over 20 years.  He advises and acts in disputes relating to wills and inheritance, trusts, the duties of trustees and personal representatives, and the administration of estate.

Rob’s practice embraces:

  • Personal representative and trustee disputes (including personal representative and trustee disagreements, removals / substitutions and alleged misconduct)
  • Disappointed beneficiary claims
  • Will disputes (where the validity of a will is challenged on the grounds of undue influence, lack of testamentary capacity, lack of knowledge and approval of the contents of a will, and fraudulent calumny)
  • Financial provision claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975
  • Proprietary estoppel claims
  • Disputes about the proper construction, and rectification, of wills
  • Caveats
  • Professional liability claims arising from the preparation of wills and trusts and the administration of estates

He has mediated (either as appointed mediator or as a representative) dozens of disputes involving contentious wills and probate issues.

Property disputes

The other side of Rob’s practice is contentious property work.  This embraces:

  • Residential and commercial landlord and tenant disputes
  • Disrepairs
  • Repairing covenants
  • Possession claims
  • Lease termination and lease forfeiture
  • Dilapidations
  • Service charge disputes
  • Interpretation and enforcement of leasehold covenants

Rob’s style is a mix of listening, asking (tough) questions, diplomacy and reality testing. He’s interested, flexible, and pragmatic. He offers a common sense, realistic approach to assist his clients in searching for solutions to their disputes and brings straight talking and integrity to his work.

Rob is a Solicitor. He successfully completed training as a mediator under the ADR Chambers / Harvard Law Project Scheme in June 2006 and is a member of the Civil Mediation Council.

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