Claim against an estate under the inheritance tax (provision for family and dependants) act
Under the Inheritance (Provision for Family & Dependants) Act 1975 it is possible for certain persons to make a claim against your estate if you have failed to make reasonable financial provision for them.
The persons who can make such a claim include a spouse and also a former spouse (within time limits). A former spouse cannot however make a claim if she or he has remarried or if the Court barred such a claim on the grant of the divorce. A child can also make a claim as can any person who immediately before your death was being maintained wholly or partly by you. Also a person who thinks he ought to be a beneficiary of your estate but was exempted from your will can claim against your estate.
Such a claim would normally have to be made within six months of Grant of Probate of your Will. If there is a possibility of a claim then your executors will probably defer distributing the bulk of your estate until after this time period has expired.
It is possible to protect a will against the possibility of such claims or make them less likely to be successful by taking some simple precautions. For example explaining clearly in the Will or in a separate document why someone has been left out. Or if someone may challenge your state of mind, getting a statement from a doctor confirming you are fit to make a Will.