Understanding How Inheritance Law Can Help You Claim What is Rightfully Yours

Family inheritance is a complex minefield and you’ll need good quality advice from a solicitor to make sure you handle it correctly.

Inheritance Law

There are a few laws that govern family inheritance but the claims for inheritance can be made under the Inheritance (provision for family and dependants) Act 1975. People often claim inheritance when they’ve been left out of a will of the deceased.

The first thing you need to be aware of is that Scotland is not covered by this law, and there is no similar law in Scotland. England and Wales are governed by this law and put simply, inheritance law is a specialised, complex area.

The Act allows for inheritance claims to be made. In other words, a person is laying claim to be a beneficiary of an estate of someone who has died. Also, if someone thinks they have been denied a decent portion of the will, they can also make a claim for a larger part of the estate.

inheritance law

Photo source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mrbill/3355278756/

The Act tries to resolve these inheritance claims by re-distributing the deceased person’s estate amongst those who have a legitimate claim. The main focus of a family inheritance claims is the term ‘reasonable’ – in other words, what could the claimants ‘reasonably’ expect to have been left.

However, not just anyone can make an inheritance claim. Claimants need to qualify under a set of criteria such as proving that you were ‘maintained’ by the deceased during their life. So, if you were a partner of the deceased you need to prove they were paying for some (or all) of your living expenses. Previous spouses or partners can claim but only if they have not remarried or formed a civil partnership.

Inheritance Tax

This is another area that requires specialist help in some cases. There is a threshold in the UK; as a rule of thumb, if you inherit property, the likelihood is the value of the property will take you over this threshold. If you have inherited then it is your responsibility to make sure you make any tax payments due. Be aware – there are penalties for late payments.

There is no doubt that inheritance is a complex area of law and tax, and this is only a quick guide to family inheritance. It is essential you engage the services of a quality solicitor or tax advisor. Paying the price is not just about how much financially this will cost you, but the scars from family inheritance ‘battles’ can last for generations.

For all your inheritance needs and for any assistance visit www.pjf.ie. This article was written by Jonathan Smith.

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