In this fourth mini blog in the series of FAQs about Estate Administration, Luke Watson, Contentious Probate expert in our Dispute Resolution team, explains what your options are when you have been left out of your parents’ Will.
In many other European countries, there are detailed rules which force parents to leave a fixed share of their estate to their children. By contrast, in England & Wales, parents have no obligation to leave their assets to their children and can, if they choose to, cut their children out of their Will and leave their whole estate to somebody else.
Disputes between children and the estates of their deceased parents are therefore commonplace.
There are two main options available should you find yourself disinherited:
- Establish whether the Will itself can be challenged.
There a number of ways to challenge a Will. For example, it may be that you feel that the deceased parent lacked the necessary mental capacity because they were suffering from dementia and were therefore incapable to sign the Will and/or understand what assets they possessed. Or it could be that you suspect that the deceased parent was coerced into signing the Will by an unscrupulous individual.
- Potential claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975
An adult child can try and bring a claim under this act for a share of their deceased parent’s estate if they have been left out of the Will. Whether they will succeed depends on a number of factors, including whether the child is financially self -sufficient.
Strict time limits apply if a child wishes to take action because they have been left out of their parent’s Will so it is important to seek legal advice without delay.
If you have any questions contesting a Will or would like to know what your options are, call our Contentious Probate experts on 01225 750000.