Inheritance Tax Part 2

Inheritance Tax can be a complicated subject. Below you will find some information you might find useful.

Claims against your estate

Under the Inheritance (Provision for Family & Dependants) Act 1975 it is possible for certain persons to make a claim against your estate if you have failed to make reasonable financial provision for them.

The persons who can make such a claim include a spouse and also a former spouse (within time limits) A former spouse cannot however make a claim if she or he has remarried or if the Court barred such a claim on the grant of the divorce.

A child can also make a claim as can any person who immediately before your death was being maintained wholly or partly by you.

Such a claim would normally have to be made within six months of Grant of Probate of your Will. If there is a possibility of a claim then your executors will probably defer distributing the bulk of your estate until after this time period has expired.

Claims against estates used to be rare.

You occasionally read about them in the newspapers and they usually only involved aristocrats or rich dysfunctional families.

Now they are much more common. With London property prices being so high "ordinary" families are finding themselves caught up in vicious squabbles over inheritances. These can often run up legal bills of £100's of thousands of pounds and destroy relationships between brothers and sisters

It is possible to protect a Will against the possibility of such claims or make them less likely to be successful by taking some simple precautions. For example explaining clearly in the Will or in a separate document why someone has been left out. Or if someone may challenge your state of mind, getting a statement from a doctor confirming you are fit to make a Will.

If you think you may need advice on this aspect do let us know before we draw up the Will.

Alternatively, if you genuinely think you have been left out of a will unfairly then here are the basics..

The grounds on which you can challenge a Will are limited.

Can you prove the testator didn't know what they were doing? That they lacked the mental ability to understand they were making a will or that they didn't remember what assets they had or had unreasonably forgotten you existed

Were they forced into making a will against their wishes? Had a member of the family or a neighbour or friend got into a position where the testator was so reliant on them they would do whatever they were told even if they didn't want to?

Do you qualify under the Inheritance (Provision for Family & Dependants) Act 1975

Talk to us on 020 3633 4060.