Expertise in Wills, Trusts & Probate Since 1860

How to Sue a Dead Person's Estate

Spouses, civil partners, cohabitees, children and dependents may claim against the estate of a deceased person if they have not received an inheritance, or if the deceased has failed to make adequate financial provision for them.

The law affords protection for those who were financially dependent on the deceased if they belong to one of the categories outlined in the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.

Contested wills, probate disputes and dependency claims can be extremely complex, lengthy and difficult to resolve. There is a six month time limit for contesting the terms of a will from the date of the grant of representation, and for this reason non-beneficiaries and those family or dependents who feel they have not been adequately provided for should seek legal advice at the earliest opportunity. Bartletts Solicitors can help you claim if you have been left out of a will. We have a dedicated team of will and probate dispute solicitors.

  • Child Can Claim Against an Estate if Not Included in a Will
  • Cohabiting Person Can Claim Against Partner's Estate
  • Other Dependents Can Claim Against an Estate
  • Reasons for Disputing a Will & ADR
Natural children of a deceased person may apply for financial provision from the latter’s estate under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975 if they have not been reasonably provided for financially due to the intestacy rules or under the terms of a valid will.

There are many reasons why a child may have been excluded from a will or not received adequate financial provision, but as a close relative they will have a strong claim on the estate of their deceased parent. A child may also make a dependency claim if they were not a natural child of the deceased, but were treated as a child of the family in relation to any marriage or civil partnership entered into by the deceased at any time in the past.
Increasing numbers of people in Britain choose to cohabit rather than marrying or entering a civil partnership, and despite the fact that common law marriage does not actually exist under UK law, a cohabitee can still claim against their deceased partner’s estate even if the latter dies intestate or fails to make reasonable financial provision for them.

The surviving cohabitee will need to show either that they lived with the deceased for two years prior to their death as if they were a husband, wife or civil partner, or alternatively that they were financially maintained by the deceased, wholly or in part, in the period immediately prior to the latter’s death.
A dependent is legally defined as a person for whom a deceased person may reasonably have been expected to provide for in their will. A person will need to show that they were financially dependent on the deceased, either wholly or partly (but substantially), and were being maintained in this manner prior to the death of the deceased. This being the case, the dependent may then claim reasonable financial provision from the estate of the deceased, if the latter died intestate or if they failed to make adequate provision for their dependent.
There are a number of different reasons for challenging the validity of a will and disputing its terms. Simple drafting errors may have been made, or the mental capacity of the testator may be grounds for claiming that a will did not reflect their true intentions. They may have been subject to undue influence when drafting the document, or else the will may have been altered or forged by a third party.

Wills and probate disputes can normally be resolved by what is known as Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), a mediation process aimed at getting the contending parties to agree to a resolution without the need for litigation. This is less costly and more confidential than taking a dispute to court.

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Bartletts Solicitors was managed by John Bartlett for over 40 years, the last 25 of which he was assisted by Trevor Morris. Trevor is now the managing director, representing continuity for the firm’s traditional values and customer satisfaction ethos.

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Solicitors Specialising In Wills, Trusts & Probate
Louise Nelson is a solicitor with over 40 years’ experience in wills, trusts & probate matters. Louise and her team will be happy to offer you a no obligation quotation.

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