In estate planning and wills, the claimant’s role is often overlooked.

The claimant is a central figure in the legal process surrounding wills.

It plays a pivotal role in ensuring the proper distribution of assets and the execution of the deceased’s wishes.

In this article, we will delve into the responsibilities and significance of the claimant.

Defining The Claimant

In the context of a will, the claimant is an individual or entity that asserts a right to a portion of the deceased’s estate.

This assertion typically arises from being named as a beneficiary in the will.

It is also while having a legally recognized interest in the estate.

The claimant may also be referred to as a legatee or beneficiary.

This depends on the jurisdiction and the specific terms of the will.

Roles And Responsibilities

The roles and responsibilities are as follows:

Initiating The Probate Process:

One of the primary responsibilities of the claimant is to initiate the probate process after the testator’s passing.

Probate is the legal procedure.

This validates A will, and the estate’s assets are distributed according to the deceased’s wishes.

As an interested party, the claimant takes the lead in submitting the will to the appropriate court.

This ensures that the legal formalities are met.

Challenging The Validity Of The Will:

In some instances, a claimant may contest the validity of the will. 

This typically occurs when there are suspicions of a lack of testamentary capacity in creating the will. 

In this role, the claimant must provide evidence and legal arguments to support their challenge.

Asserting Claims For Their Share: 

If the claimant is named a beneficiary in the will, they have various roles.

Their role includes asserting their claims to the assets or bequests designated by the deceased.

This often involves providing documentation and evidence to the executor or the court to facilitate the distribution process.

Participation In Estate Settlement: 

Claimants may actively participate in the estate settlement process.

This is done by attending court hearings and communicating with the executor or administrator.

It is also executed by cooperating with other interested parties to ensure a fair and equitable distribution of assets.

Legal Standing Of The Claimant:

The claimant’s legal standing is paramount in the probate process.

To assert their rights effectively, they must establish their status as an interested person with a legitimate claim.

This typically requires demonstrating a direct connection to the deceased through a valid will.

Example 1 – Sarah, The Niece

Background Scenario: Sarah is the niece of John, a wealthy man who recently passed away.

John had a substantial estate, including a large house, valuable assets, and a significant amount of money in various accounts.

John had a close relationship with Sarah throughout her life and often acted as a father figure after her parents passed away when she was young.

Sarah was named as a beneficiary in John’s will.

Claimant In The Will: 

In this scenario, Sarah is the claimant in the will. She is the person who has a legal right to inherit a portion of John’s estate as specified in his will.

John left her a specific sum of money, a piece of valuable artwork, and the right to reside in his house for a specified period.

Example 2 – Mark, The Distant Relative

Background Scenario: Mark is a distant relative of Emily, a wealthy woman who passed away without any immediate family members.

Emily had no children, siblings, or parents; her closest relatives were distant cousins like Mark.

Emily had a detailed will in which she distributed her estate among various individuals and charitable organizations.

Claimant In The Will: 

In this scenario, Mark is the claimant in the will as a distant relative.

Although he was not close to Emily, she remembered him in her will and left him a portion of her estate.

This included some valuable jewelry and a share of her financial assets.

Mark has the legal right to claim the inheritance specified for him in Emily’s will.