Legislation termed the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) (NI) Order 1979 gives specified categories of person the right to make an application seeking to share in the estate of a deceased person, if that deceased person failed to make “reasonable financial provision” for the applicant. The legislation has arisen out of social policy which has determined that there may be a responsibility to provide for certain members of one’s family and/or dependants on death, if assets are available to make such provision.
This legislation is important not only for those who believe that provision should have been made for them, and was not. It should also be considered by each of us, when making our will, appreciating that our wishes could be challenged.
This is an area of law with many uncertainties, as many inheritance provision claims are settled “out of court”. Experienced legal guidance is essential. There are time limits for such claims, and there are many factors to be weighed up when advising on the prospects of success or otherwise.
Many inheritance provision claims are concluded by means of negotiation and settlement. Our Chancery litigators promote this approach when appropriate. This is an area of law particularly suited to mediation. With each of our Partners trained as accredited mediators we are well placed to guide clients throughout the mediation or litigation processes.