Contest a Will - Changes to the Inheritance Act Contesting Wills - How to Contest a Will

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Legal Grounds for Contesting a Will

Changes to the Inheritance Act

In October 2014 changes to the inheritance law came into force. These changes apply in England and Wales. There has been little change to this inheritance law this century. These new changes affect the rights of people whose spouses and civil partners die intestate (without making a will)

The new changes in the inheritance law will mean married couples without children will inherit their spouse’s entire estate as opposed to £450,000 and then 50% of what was left.

Where there are children, the remaining spouse will inherit the first £250,000 as they did before the changes, however, they will now also inherit half of the remaining as opposed to just receiving interest on that amount.

These changes have been made in an attempt to make inheritance laws fairer, and to take care of those who deserve an inheritance but have found it difficult to get their inheritance in the past.

The changes will affect situations where the claimant and the deceased were mutually dependent on each other. An example of someone who might now be able to claim is a partner in a non-cohabiting couple where each had assumed some responsibility for each other.

Under the old rules, the claimant had to show that the deceased contributed more to the relationship than they did. Someone who might now be able to claim is a partner in a couple that are not actually living together but where each had some responsibility for each other.

If you have any questions regarding these new inheritance law changes, please contact one of our experienced solicitors with any questions you may have.

Under the previous rules a claim could only start once work had formally begun to divide the estate involved, through the use of a grant of probate. Now, under the new rules, proceedings can begin before this, this will now prevent cases where people refuse to issue a grant in order to prevent others from launching claims.

Under the old law there is a six month deadline or limitation period to issue proceedings, starting on the date that the first grant is issued. The new Act changes this to clarify that certain grants will be disregarded from this.

It has been difficult for step children to inherit in the past and these new changes include increased rights for step children. Our solicitors will be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding step children and their right to inherit.

The inheritance law changes a rule which meant children who had turned 18, lost their right to inherit from a parent's estate if they were adopted by another family before that age. The new rules eliminate a legal anomaly that affected adopted children.

A child under the age of 18 who was subsequently adopted by someone else under the old rules, if their parent died, there was a risk that the child would lose their inheritance from their natural parent. The new rules prevent that from happening and now there is no longer a risk of a child losing their inheritance if they are adopted after the death of their natural parent.

The new inheritance law changes have been brought in to make things fairer, however they may also cause more arguments between family members. The key points are that it will make it clearer how the estate of a person who dies without a will should be dealt with.

Step children will get a much fairer deal than before the changes. Also the loophole has been closed where adopted children would lose out under the old rules.

Our specialist experienced solicitors will be happy to speak with you regarding any concerns or questions you may have about this sensitive area of law.

These changes to inheritance law are more suited to modern society, where family life is perhaps not just the traditional family group that it once was. More people are living together without being married and there are second and third generations of children within these family groups.


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