Inheritance Act Claims: A Practical Guide (2nd edition)
Miranda Allardice, Tracey Angus, Paul Hewitt and Penelope Reed
£99.95, Law Society Publishing
This book is primarily targeted at private client lawyers. It is a simple and user-friendly guide to how inheritance claims work.
As a family lawyer, I found the most useful parts to be those regarding former spouses and also in respect of the possible claims for cohabitees. The Matrimonial Causes Act can prevent former spouses being able to make a claim on a deceased’s estate if an order has been made by the family courts.
The references to the MCA 1973 and case law are extremely useful and easy to follow. It is surprising how much detail they go into in respect of former spouse’s rights.
The case law is clearly referenced and used to illustrate the principles of claims on divorce and how they are linked to those possible claims on the death of a spouse. Particular reference is made to White v White  1 AC 596 and the recent appeal heard in Sharp v Sharp  EWCA Civ 408. There is also a chapter in respect of non-matrimonial assets. As family lawyers, we are forever asked about possible claims a spouse may have in regards to inherited assets. Part 5.4.3 of this book clearly explains the law.
The book is set out in small chunks which make reading about inheritance law much more bearable! It is broken down into useful chapters and I would recommend any practice with both private client and family lawyers to have a copy of this close by. The overlap is also useful in helping to point clients in the right direction, as we know there is commonly carry-on work from divorce into the drafting of wills.
Izzy Jaques is family solicitor at Hedges Law, Oxford
A Practitioner’s Guide to Inheritance Act Claims (3rd edition)
£79, Wildy, Simmonds & Hill Publishing
The Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 was once again thrust into the spotlight in 2017. Much was made of the case of Ilott v Mitson, which reached the UK’s highest court. Indeed, it was the first time the Supreme Court had been asked to consider a case brought under the act and, as a result, we saw the pendulum swing back in favour of freedom to dispose of our assets to whom we choose. While this principle – known as ‘testamentary freedom’ – prevails, the law continues to recognise the need for certain people, under the act, to be able to apply to court for reasonable provision if such provision has not been made for them.
It is for this reason, among others, that this book is a useful addition to the limited practitioner works in this area. It contains detailed analyses of the law and procedure of bringing, or responding to, an application under the act, including the appeals process. It also provides useful practical precedents.
Andrew Kidd is a partner at Clintons, London