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FAQs About Litigation and Dispute Resolution: My parent has left their estate to the Cats and Dogs Home. What can I do?



Unfortunately, it is more common than you might expect for children to be cut out of their parents’ Wills, leaving them with no inheritance. In this mini blog, Contentious Probate specialist Luke Watson explains the legal options available to children who want to make a claim against their parents’ estate.

In many European countries “forced heirship” rules apply, which compel parents to leave their estates to their children. Under English law the starting point is “testamentary freedom”. This means that a parent can leave their assets to whoever they like.

However, the “Inheritance Act” allows children to make a claim against their parents’ estate.

Criteria to make a claim
Cases in this area of law are complicated and each case is unique. However, the court will consider a range of factors before deciding whether and to what extent a child should receive a share of the estate including:
• the size and nature of the estate;
• the financial needs and resources of the child making the claim and the financial needs and resources of the beneficiaries;
• the conduct of the parties;
• the obligations and responsibilities of the deceased to the child and the beneficiaries;
• any physical or mental disability suffered by the child or the beneficiaries.

Claims by adult children
Adult children can claim although their claim is likely to be more difficult to bring than would be the case for a minor child.

Time limits to claims
There is a very strict time limit of 6 months from the date of the Grant of Probate. This means it is essential to obtain legal advice at an early stage if you are considering making a claim.

At Mogers Drewett we have a team of solicitors specialising in all types of disputes, including Wills disputes. If you have any questions or would like to discuss your situation, then please get in touch with our Disputes team on 0800 533 5349.