Family provision claims—practice and procedure
Family provision claims—practice and procedure

The following Wills & Probate practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Family provision claims—practice and procedure
  • Time limits
  • Pre-action conduct
  • Proceedings
  • The position of the PRs
  • The issue of proceedings
  • The claimant's witness statement
  • The defendant's response
  • Case management
  • Death of the claimant

Time limits

An action under Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 (I(PFD)A 1975) should generally be commenced before the expiration of six months from the date of a grant to the estate. An application after that date can only be made with the permission of the court.

For guidance on time limits, see Practice Note: Family provision claims—preliminary issues—Time limits.

Pre-action conduct

There is no pre-action protocol for claims under I(PFD)A 1975 but the parties should have regard to the Practice Direction Pre-Action Conduct and Protocols. The court will expect the parties, taking into account the aims of ensuring they are on an equal footing, saving expense and proportionality, to observe the Practice Direction and act reasonably in exchanging information and documents relevant to the claim and generally in trying to avoid the necessity for the issue of proceedings. The parties conduct under the Practice Direction should normally include:

  1. the claimant writing to give details of the claim

  2. the defendant acknowledging the letter of claim within 21 days

  3. the defendant giving, within a reasonable time, a detailed written response

  4. the parties conducting genuine and reasonable negotiations with a view to settling the claim economically and without the issue of proceedings

  5. consider whether some form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) would be more suitable than litigation

The Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists has produced its own

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