Domicile and Inheritance Claims

In order to bring an inheritance claim, you will need to demonstrate that the deceased was domiciled in England and Wales. Difficulties can arise where a person has moved in or out of the jurisdiction during their lifetime or has expressed an intention to do so.

The guidelines for considering domicile in inheritance disputes are as follows:

• Everybody has a ‘domicile of origin’, i.e. the place where they were born
• One can acquire a ‘domicile of choice’ via a combination of residence and an intent to permanently reside there
• Only one domicile is possible, i.e. joint domicility as with joint nationality does not exist
• Nobody can be without a domicile
• An existing domicile continues until such time as it is proved that a new domicile has been acquired
• A person can abandon a domicile by either ceasing to reside there, ceasing to intend to permanently reside or indefinitely reside there
• If a new domicile of choice is not acquired, the person’s domicile reverts to their domicile of origin

When considering whether a person has acquired a domicile of choice, the Court must look at any circumstance that provides evidence of a person’s residence, or their intention to permanently reside in a country.  When considering if someone intends to permanently reside, the Court can look at the motive for moving to a particular country, the fact that residence was not freely chosen and the fact that residence was precarious

The rules governing domicility with regards to inheritance claims are complex and a number of factors have to be taken into consideration. If you’re thinking of making a probate claim, seek advice from our team of specialist contested probate solicitors so that we can help eliminate reasons for doubt about domicile issues at an early stage.

For more information, contact our Inheritance Claim Solicitors today

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