Inheritance Disputes and life insurance policies

Published 31 Jul 2013

Not everyone can Contest a Will when they disagree with how a loved one has instructed their Estate to be distributed.

That is because Will’s are by definition subjective. They represent the individual wishes of a person, not the result of standardised process of dividing up an Estate.

However, the law does allow that people have an obligation to do what they can to provide for people dependent on them, after their death.

If certain persons close to the deceased believe they have been unfairly excluded from the Will, they may be able to seek a settlement through Family Provision claims.

There are strict rules determining who can make such a claim and how soon they must start proceedings.

Even though these regulations are clearly set out and there is a set procedure to follow, nothing is simple in Inheritance Disputes.

This is to be expected when there can sometimes be competing claims to deal with, disagreement over the validity of a Will document, and confusion over how to interpret certain instructions.

One thing that can complicate Family Provision claims in particular is if the deceased has a life insurance policy.

In many cases, these policies can be structured in such a way as to keep them separate from a person’s Estate.

As a consequence, the money tied up in the life insurance policy won’t be vulnerable to a Family Provision claim should it eventuate after their death.

Any such claim would only apply to the Estate of the deceased, possible limiting the potential result.

As many claims based on family provision are made by relatives or intimate friends in financial need, it can be stressful and confusing for them to learn that a major asset of a recently passed loved one – their life insurance policy – is not part of their Estate.

In these situations it is important to seek specialist legal advice from lawyers experienced in this area of the law.

Contesting Wills lawyers can examine the circumstances of an Inheritance Dispute and make it easier to understand the complexities of Estates and how they relate to life insurance policies.

They’ll explain whether what options exist in a specific situation for making a Family Provision claim on someone’s Will and how insurance policies may affect the potential result.

Getting expert advice at an early stage can be invaluable in dispelling the confusion surrounding often acrimonious Will disputes.

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