Where a person thinks a valid will or intestacy has resulted in unfairness he or she might consider making a claim under The Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 – commonly known as the 1975 Act. The categories of claimants under the 1975 Act include husbands and wives and civil partners of the person who dies; anyone who for the last two years of the deceased’s life was living in the same household as their husband or wife; a child or a child treated as a child of the family; or any person who immediately prior to the death was being maintained by the deceased.
If these cases get to court the costs can be enormous running into tens of thousands of pounds. If possible, parties will be better advised to try mediation which is a confidential, voluntary and flexible form of alternative dispute resolution involving a mediator helping the parties to work together towards a negotiated settlement.
It is impossible to avoid the potential for disputes but anyone thinking of making a will or revising a will should consider opening up a discussion with the family and its various constituents to try to get any issues resolved before the inevitable happens, and it is too late.