The Family Protection Act 1955 (“FPA”) becomes relevant under either a will or intestacy (where a deceased dies without a will in place) in circumstances where a claimant does not consider that they have been appropriately provided for under the deceased’s estate. Proper maintenance and support is the test, which is a wide and general phrase.
So, who can make a claim under the FPA? A spouse or civil union partner of the deceased is at the top of the list. Children (includes stepchildren), grandchildren and parents in certain circumstances are also on the list. Your lawyer will be able to access your status should you wish to check that issue initially.
Where a claimant wishes to ask the court to enforce the moral duty of the deceased, notice must be given to the executors of the relevant will via the estate’s lawyer within a twelve-month period from the date the probate is granted by the court in respect of that will. The required period may be longer should the applicant either be a minor or not have full mental capacity.
The court has the power to extend the timeline at their discretion based on the circumstances. It is prudent, however, to give written notice of your claim within six months from the grant of probate. Executors will have been told by the estate’s lawyer that if they move to distribute the estate to the beneficiaries inside the six-month period, then an executor may be personally liable should a subsequent claim surface.