At present, the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975 ("the Act") allows claims to be brought by a member of the family or someone maintained by the person who has passed away. However, recently published draft bills, if accepted, would allow a claim to be brought by someone who the deceased had not agreed to maintain in life.
The proposals also recommend changes to other areas of the law, including making an intestate's spouse/civil partner the sole beneficiary, subject to their being no children or other descendants. If there were such, then again the proposals amend how the estate would be distributed.
A further bill would allow an intestate's long-term cohabitant to inherit from the estate under the intestacy rules without having to bring a claim under the Act.
We wait to see whether or not these proposals will be accepted and will keep you updated. Gepp & Sons can offer assistance in dealing with intestacies and also claims under the Act and for advice on either issue, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 01245 493939.
The above article is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.