Who is an eligible claimant under the 1975 act?
The Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 (the “1975 Act”) allows certain categories of people to bring a claim for reasonable financial provisions to be made from an estate if a will or the intestacy rules do not make provisions for them.
In order to bring a claim, a person must first establish that they are eligible to apply. Section 1 of the 1975 Act sets out the categories of eligible claimants. These include:
- Spouse or civil partner of the deceased
A spouse or civil partner is automatically eligible to make an application by virtue of their status.
- A person who was living in the same household as the deceased as spouse or civil partner
An eligible applicant under this category must have been living in the same household as the deceased and have lived together ‘as husband and wife or civil partners’ for the two years immediately prior to death.
- A former spouse or former civil partner of the deceased
Former spouses are eligible applicants provided that they have not entered in to a subsequent marriage or civil partnership.
- A child of the deceased
The definition of child under the 1975 Act is not limited to minor children, adult children are eligible claimants. The definition also includes adopted children but does not include step-children unless they were adopted by the deceased.
- A person who was treated by the deceased as a child of the family in relation to any marriage or civil partnership to which the deceased was a party or any family in which the deceased stood in the role of a parent
Step-children are potentially eligible to bring a claim under this category.
- Any person who was being maintained by the deceased
This category includes relatives and non-relatives of the deceased who were being maintained wholly or partly by the deceased immediately before death.
Even if a person may be eligible to bring a claim they would need to very carefully think about whether or not there is any merit in pursuing that claim against an estate. The factors the court considers in assessing whether to meet a person’s financial needs from an estate are laid out at section 3 of the 1975 Act.
If you have any questions on the content of this article please don’t hesitate to contact one of the team.