Were you financially dependent on the Deceased?

What can you do if a loved-one was helping you out financially, but has died and has failed to make provision for you from the estate? What if the Will is perfectly valid and not open to challenge, but you are not a beneficiary?

What if there was no Will at all and you are not related to the deceased, or not related closely enough, to benefit under the rules of intestacy?

In any of these circumstances, the general rules suggest that you are not entitled to receive anything.

However, if you were financially dependent on the deceased, and have not received a benefit from the estate, there may be a way to seek to become a beneficiary.

It is known in the trade as an Inheritance Act claim.

If you can demonstrate that there was a “settled basis of arrangement” in existence immediately before the deceased passed away, whereby the deceased was making a substantial contribution to your reasonable needs, you can apply to the court for provision to be made for you.

It is necessary to show that the financial contribution made towards you by the deceased was significant. The court will not be concerned with trivial provisions, or the odd payment here and there. The financial assistance must be more than trifling, and must occur regularly over a period of time.

The provision must be deemed to have been ongoing immediately before the Deceased passed away. Any historical provision for you will be irrelevant if financial assistance had ceased to be provided for you before the deceased died.

If provision was being made, it will still be necessary for you to demonstrate that the deceased had “assumed responsibility” for providing for your maintenance. If the court cannot accept that there was such an assumption of responsibility, your claim will fail.

Nevertheless, in a typical case, the court will presume that there was an assumption of responsibility if financial provision was being made for you.

It is therefore advisable to identify exactly what provision was being made for you. For example, was it in the form of rent free accommodation? Or did it concern the provision of funds to enable you to pay your bills and purchase food? Over what period of time was the benefit provided for you? Would the benefits have continued had the deceased not passed away?

If so, it is likely that you have a strong claim.

If you are concerned that you were receiving financial provision from the deceased, but do not inherit from the deceased’s estate, contact us to discuss your case.