Dependency Claims – Under the Inheritance Act

Claims for financial maintenance

Under the Inheritance Act 1975, claims for financial maintenance against an estate can be made if the claimant(s) where maintained by the Deceased prior to their death.

The broad spectrum of individuals entitled to bring a claim are limited by Section 1 of the Act which provides that only those persons listed below may make a claim:-

  • The spouse or civil partner of the deceased
  • An individual who was co-habiting with the deceased as his spouse or civil partner for two years prior to the death
  • A former spouse or civil partner who has not remarried or entered another civil partnership
  • A child of the deceased, or
  • Any individual other than those mentioned above who was being maintained by the Deceased before his or her death

Significant Time Limits on Dependency Claims

Dependency claim time limits are very strict, with the Inheritance Act providing that a claim must be brought within 6 months of the grant of probate being issued.

What Can I expect from a successful dependency claim?

If you make a successful dependency claim, the volume and level of maintenance by the Court ultimately depends upon the Claimant. In the case of a spouse, he/she could receive such sum as is reasonable in all the given circumstances, even though those sums may not be required for maintenance. In all other cases, the Court will order such financial provision as it would be reasonable in all the circumstances of the case.

Prior to outcome, the level of maintenance are never easy to assess, and at WillClaim we suggest that you seek immediate legal help given the stringent timescales mentioned above. The Court will however take into consideration the following:-

  • Any responsibilities or financial obligations that the deceased may have had before his or her death
  • The nature and size of the estate
  • And other matters to include the conduct of the parties

Practical considerations when making a dependency claim

Given the strict time limits and complexity of assessment, dependency claims under the Inheritance Act are often complicated. The best approach is often to apply for a Standing Search which is a vehicle used by the Probate Registry to inform a potential claimant (within a matter of days) that a grant has been issued by the Courts. This facilitates staying within the aforementioned tight time limits.