Family disputes includes Inheritance (Provision for Family & Dependants) Act 1975 and The Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 (known as TOLATA).
All Family disputes are dealt with sensitively and with utmost consideration and respect for privacy where a dispute arises about Wills, administering of estates, inheritance provisions and property.
The Inheritance (Provision For Family And Dependants) Act 1975
The Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 (“the 1975 Act”) enables a child of the deceased to make a claim against his or her estate in circumstances whereby the deceased did not make reasonable financial provision for them in their will (or by an intestacy). The scope of what constitutes a child extends to any child of the deceased including illegitimate, legitimated and adopted children of any age and any person treated by the deceased as a child of the marriage or civil partnership.
In recent years the courts have seen a spate of claims under the 1975 Act brought by adult children. Under Section 3 of the 1975 Act, the court will take into account the following factors when deciding whether a reasonable financial provision has been granted for a claimant:
a) the financial resources and needs of the applicant;
b) the financial resources and needs of any other applicant;
c) the financial resources and needs of the beneficiaries;
d) any obligations and responsibilities of the deceased towards any applicant and any beneficiary;
e) the size and nature of the estate of the deceased;
f) any physical or mental disability of any applicant or beneficiary;
g) any other matter, including conduct, which the court may consider relevant.
The door to so called “moral claim” was opened by the case of Illot v Mitson  and falls within the scope of 3(g). These cases have been pursued in recent years with varying levels of success. However, the reality is that claims by adult children under the 1975 Act are difficult. Adult children living at home and those that were financially dependent on a deceased parent will always stand a much better chance of success under the Act than those that maintain themselves financially. It will be fact sensitive in every case and will depend on the factors outlined in Section 3.
The Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 (known as TLATA) gives Courts certain powers to resolve disputes about the ownership of property (or land).
A TLATA claim can be issued:
- To force the sale of land or property.
- To reoccupy a former family home when an ex-partner refuses to leave.
- By parents/grandparents wanting to recover their financial interest in the property.
- To determine the share you each own.
There are three main types of application that can be made under TLATA to resolve disputes about land. These are:
- to order a sale of the property, enabling an owner to realise their financial interest,
- to decide who is entitled to occupy, and
- to decide the nature and extent of the ownership of a property owned by two or more people.
Taken together, these applications permit a court to decide who are the legal and beneficial owners of a property, and in what proportions.
There are complimentary powers in TLATA that allow a court to direct the owner of land to behave in a certain way. In disputes about co-ownership, these powers are used most frequently to require a co-owned property to be sold so that the proceeds can be divided. TLATA limits a court to deciding on co-ownership of property. It does not give the court the power to vary that co-ownership, and adjust the proportions that each person owns.
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