Who Is Entitled to Make a Claim on an Estate during Probate?

After someone dies, certain individuals have a legal right to make a claim to the Estate if they feel that they haven’t been adequately provided for in the deceased’s Will. These individuals include the deceased’s spouse and their children, amongst others.

Are Claims on an Estate Automatically Agreed?

No, claims are not automatically granted once they have been made by an eligible individual. Whether or not the claim will be granted will depend entirely on the circumstances of the case.

The Court will consider a number of factors when considering a claim on an Estate. First they will consider whether the Will makes ‘reasonable financial provision’ for the individual. If the Court decides that the answer to this is ‘no’ then they will decide whether they should intervene to award this provision from the Estate. If they think that this is the right thing to do, the Court must then decide what type and value of provision it is appropriate to award.

When Can a Claim Be Made on an Estate?

There is a strict time limit within which an eligible individual can make a claim on the Estate. This is six months from the date that the Grant of Probate was issued. For this reason, Executors are advised to wait until this period has lapsed before distributing any of the Estate to the beneficiaries.

The Court does have authority to extend this deadline in some cases. In order to get an extension, a formal application will need to be made to the Court, seeking their permission. The Court will decide whether or not to grant this extension. They will consider the merits of the claim, the reason why the claim is being made outside of the 6 month timeframe and what has happened during and since this time. They will also look at whether negotiations began within the time limit and to what extent the Estate has already been distributed.

So, as you can see, making a claim outside of the six month timeframe is likely to be challenging, so it’s important to lodge any potential claim as early as possible. If the deadline is missed, then the claimant may no longer be able to make a claim.

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