Stepparents Exclude Stepchildren from their Will, Research Finds

According to recent reports, research shows almost half of stepparents in the UK plan to exclude their stepchildren from their Will. Tower Street Finance conducted the research to examine people’s attitudes towards inheritance.

They surveyed 2000 people, and of the 2000, 32% say that they currently have a Will which does not treat their children and stepchildren equally. And 17% excluded stepchildren from their Will completely.

This research may eventually lead to a generation of stepchildren being left out of Wills. These stepchildren may feel that they have been left out of the Wills unfairly, and it may mean that they can make an Inheritance Act claim.

stepparents exclude stepchildren from their Will

Inheritance Act Claims if Stepparents Exclude Stepchildren from their Will

The Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 states that it is

“An act to make fresh provision for empowering the court to make orders for the making out of the estate of a deceased person of provision for the spouse, former spouse, child, child of the family or dependant of that person; and for matters connected therewith.”

Put simply, this act ensures that when a person passes away, every beneficiary receives part of their estate. A beneficiary is anyone who receives anything in a Will.

Certain people, if a Will does not include them, and they believe it should, may be able to make an Inheritance Act claim. These people include stepchildren. So if they believe that they were wrongly left out of a Will, they may be able to make a claim.

Who Can Claim Under The Inheritance Act?

Under The Inheritance Act, certain people can make a claim. these people are:

  • A spouse/civil partner
  • A former spouse/civil partner
  • Children, including stepchildren and adopted children. They can either be an adult or a minor
  • Financial dependants
  • Cohabitees. However, a cohabitee must live in the same house as the late party for a minimum of two years. Furthermore, they must be living as husband or wife of the deceased

Under these rules, stepchildren are able to make claims under The Inheritance Act.

Is there a time limit to claim under The Inheritance Act?

Yes, there is a time limit to make a claim under The Inheritance Act. This time limit is within six months of the date of the Grant of Probate. The Grant of Probate (aka Grant of Representation) is a legal document that clarifies the true Executor of a Will. In essence, it confirms that the executor has the authority to deal with the estate’s financial resources.

If that time limit passes, it may still be possible to make a claim under The Inheritance Act. However, you must contact the court so they can grant permission that the claim can be given authority.

How We Can Help if Stepparents Exclude Stepchildren from their Will

Here at The Inheritance Experts we work with solicitors who have years of experience dealing with Inheritance claims. This includes claims under The Inheritance Act. Contact us today by filling in our contact form. Or call us on 01614138763 to speak to one of our friendly knowledgeable advisors.

Inheritance Act Claims: Who Can Make Them?

There have been many government provisions for England and Wales that enable people to make Inheritance Act Claims. To bring a claim, a grant of probate means that only certain parties will fit within the circumstances of the case for compensation.

Below, we list some of the leading laws governing inheritance provision for the family. We’ll then turn briefly to who specifically can make a claim under the inheritance laws.

Critical Inheritance Acts Over The Years

Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975

This is the coup de graçe of all provisions regarding inheritance rights and claims. It attaches not just monetary assets as provisions of the deceased’s estate, but also any property and holdings.

Moreover, this can even include holdings disposed of in the six years prior to death.

Inheritance (Family Provision) Act 1938

The 1975 act is an update of the Inheritance (Family Provision) Act 1938. The 1938 version effectively establishes persons that can apply to the court for financial provision. In essence, the Act states the following.

Without overruling the terms of the will, it gave the surviving spouse and the dependent children the right to apply to the court for maintenance out of a deceased person’s estate.

Inheritance and Trustees’ Powers Act 2014

Time coupled with changing mores brought the law’s appreciation for modern family structures. The 2014 Act addresses matters equalising the rights of both a spouse/civil partner of the deceased to make a claim. It also tackles what had been more absolute rights of the spouse to the first £270,000 of an estate plus personal belongings.

Additionally, a child of the deceased gains additional rights to financial resources as a beneficiary of the estate. Now, the child does not need to enter into the parent/child relationship as a result of marriage.

Administration of Estates Act 1925

From the 1925 Act came many of the succeeding acts and amendments to modernise the law, too. Personal property (aka “Chattels real”) was finally coupled with real estate in the estate’s size and nature.

Here’s a relevant side note: This law repeals up to 12 different acts regarding estate circulation.

Who Can Make Inheritance Act Claims By Law?

According to the Inheritance Act 1975, certain people can offer claims according to their own personal obligations and responsibilities. These people are:

  • A spouse/civil partner of the deceased.
  • A former spouse/civil partner.
  • Children of the deceased, including children or adoption or those reasonably brought into a family.
  • Financial dependants of the deceased.
  • In certain cases, cohabitees, who nevertheless must meet certain criteria.

From spouses to children, many financial dependents can make inheritance act claims against a will

How Courts Review Inheritance Act Claims

In many circumstances, claims under The Inheritance Act can be resolved by mediation. Working together with all parties, you may not have to go to court.

That said, it’s not always true that your claim will avoid the court system. Accordingly, one question we often receive is about the procedure for inheritance act claims.

Basically, when someone makes these claims, there are several factors (aka Section 3 Factors) the court will weigh and judge.

  • First off, the court considers the claimant’s financial needs in both the present and foreseeable future.
  • Next, the court weighs the financial needs that any other claimant might have.
  • Additionally, they’ll look at the financial needs of any beneficiary of the estate.
  • Specifically, any financial obligations the late party had to any claimant/beneficiary under The Inheritance Act.
  • Another considerable factor is the size and nature of the estate left behind.
  • Not to mention, any eligible claimant/beneficiary who has a physical or mental disability.
  • Some other matters can become relevant. These include any so-called relevant behaviour(s) and conduct of the claimant or any other person.

Is There A Time Limit On Making Inheritance Act Claims?

Specifically, you have six months after the Grant of Representation (i.e. Grant of Probate) to make an Inheritance Act Claim.

Uniquely, it’s not out of the question that when this limit expires you cannot make a claim. First, you need to contact the court, who furthermore must grant your right to make such a claim. Of course, it’s much easier to stay within the half-year window and remove all doubt.

Speak With The Inheritance Experts

Speak today with one of our inheritance experts: we can help you build a solid inheritance act claims case. We can even help if you are an executor who is managing an estate under contest. Similarly, we understand Inheritance Tax and other financial affairs associated with the estate. For more on contesting a will and Inheritance Act claims, read about:

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