We are experienced in acting for clients in contentious probate issues, often resulting in probate litigation. Some of the most common grounds that wills are challenged include; the Testator lacked capacity to make the will, the Testator was unduly influence when making the will, the Testator failure to make proper provision for family members in their will and where the deceased failed to make a will.
We have acted for numerous clients who have not been adequately provided for by a deceased parent. These claims are brought under Section 117 of the Succession Act, 1965.
What is a Section 117 Claim?
Section 117 of the Succession Act 1965 allows the Court to make provision for a child where it forms the view that a deceased parent has failed to make proper provision for their child in accordance with their means.
In such cases, the child (usually now an adult) brings an application to the High Court seeking proper provision from the Estate. The Court is generally reluctant to intervene with a deceased’s wishes but will do so if satisfied that proper provision for the child has not been made. In deciding this, a number of factors are taken into account by the Court. A “child” includes adopted, non-marital, foster and step-child.
A Section 117 claim must be brought within 6 months of the grant of probate issuing. There is no obligation on an executor to notify a child of their right to bring a Section 117 claim. If you feel you may have such a claim, contact your solicitor for advice.
Case Study 1 – Expected Farm Inheritance (Section 117)
We represented a client who had spent much of his working life working on the farm owned by his parents. Following his father’s death (who was his last surviving parent), he found that his father had cut him out of his will due to a family argument and had left the entire farm to another family member. Our client brought a claim under Section 117 of the Succession Act, 1965 alleging that his father had failed to make proper provision for him. It was of huge importance in this case that our client had been promised the farm during his life on numerous occasions. As a result of this, he had invested much time and money into farming the land. The case ultimately settled on the day of the hearing and our client succeeded in getting back his inheritance.
Case Study 2 – Assurances made regarding Inheritance (Section 117)
Our firm acted for a client who had expected to inherit the family home after his mother’s death. He had lived there during his mother’s latter years in order to look after her due to her ill-health. She had made numerous assurances to him that the house would be left to him and he could raise a family there. For that reason, he took no steps towards buying a property or obtaining a mortgage of his own. Following her death, he was shocked to find out that his mother had made no will and therefore he and his siblings were due to inherit the house equally under the rules of intestacy in Succession Law. Our client brought a claim under Section 117 of the Succession Act, 1965 alleging that his mother had failed to make proper provision for him. He succeeded in his claim and was granted full ownership of the property.