It was a general principle of law that we are free to leave what we own to any persons or organisations of our choice upon our death.
The IPDFA 1975 (“the Act”) however was enacted to “put right” situations where the surviving spouses and young children are left with little or nothing from the estate of the deceased whether it by being excluded from the Will or even under the intestacy rules. Take a case, where Mr X and Mrs X have become estranged and as a result Mr X maliciously leaves out Mrs X and their young children from his Will to spite her.
The court has a wide discretion by virtue of the Act to consider the needs of such eligible person(s) and make a provision for them from the estate.
There is an expectation that we are all to make fair and reasonable provision for spouses, former spouses and dependants.
The categories of people who can make a claim under the Act are:
• A spouse or civil partner.
• A former spouse or civil partner who has not remarried or registered a new civil partnership.
• Any other person who was cohabitating with the deceased as ‘husband and wife’ for at least two years immediately prior to death.
• A child of the deceased.
• A person treated by the deceased as “a child of the family”.
• Any other person who immediately prior to death was being maintained by the deceased.
The only one ground for a claim under the Act is that the distribution of the deceased’s estate does not make reasonable financial provision for them. The court will take into account certain statutory guidelines when considering a claim under the Act having particular regard to the financial resources and needs of the person(s); the obligations and responsibilities of the deceased towards the person(s); the size and nature of the estate left by the deceased; and any physical or mental disability of the person(s).
For more information or advice on the importance of making your Will and how to best protect your wishes, please call Amaka Jackson on 0208 332 2069 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org