Can I bring an inheritance claim against my parent’s estate, if I am an adult?
The Inheritance (Provision for Family & Dependants) Act 1975 (“the Act”) allows certain categories of people (including spouses, children, some cohabitants, and those being financially maintained) to bring a claim against the estate of a loved one for a larger share of inheritance.
Section 1(1)(c) of the Act allows claims to be brought by “a child of the deceased”. This broad wording in the Act does not limit claims to just minor children, meaning that a child of any age is eligible to bring a claim.
However, just because you are eligible to bring a claim, it does not mean that you will necessarily succeed. To succeed, a child must essentially satisfy the Court that: –
a. The inheritance (or lack of) that they currently stand to receive is unreasonable; and
b. Beyond this, they have a reasonable need for financial “maintenance” from their parent’s estate.
When considering these questions, the Court looks at various factors including the child’s financial needs and circumstances, any physical or mental health issues they may have, the financial needs of any other beneficiaries or applicants and the size/nature of the estate.
Claims brought on behalf of minor children will usually succeed, providing the child currently stands to receive little and the estate has sufficient assets. This is because minor children are unable to support themselves, are financially dependent on their parents and usually have clear needs for the future such as the cost of their education or housing.
However, claims brought by “adult” children (over 18), are usually more problematic. Most adults are capable of supporting themselves and have been receiving no financial maintenance from their parents for many years. Therefore, even if they stand to receive nothing, it will be very difficult for them to prove this need for “maintenance”.
Maintenance, and any award for children under the Act, is generally limited to their ability to discharge their daily living expenses.
To succeed, an adult child must therefore have a “maintenance” need that can be proven. Examples being where the adult child was still living with the parent at the time of their death, or where the parent was transferring them money every month, to supplement their income. If the adult child has health issues, the cost of any necessary treatments or therapies can also potentially be claimed.
If you wish to bring a claim, then you must act quickly. Such a claim needs to be brought within 6 months of the date of a Grant being taken out from the Probate Registry.
If you believe that you have a claim, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our specialist contentious probate team.
* Disclaimer: The information on the Anthony Gold website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. It is provided without any representations or warranties, express or implied.*