It has been reported that the number of inheritance disputes heard in the High Court increased from 227 in 2018 to 368 in 2019, and we are not yet half way through 2019!
Scarcely a day goes by without a new probate dispute being reported in the media. This rise in will disputes is fuelled by a combination of:
- Clients making DIY wills, which are often full of omissions and errors
- People challenging the testamentary capacity of the testator creating the will
- Claims that the testator was subject to “undue influence”
- Concerns that the testator had insufficient knowledge of their assets and possible claims by dependants
- Fraudulent or forged wills
The number of cases which reached the High Court doesn’t taken in to account those claims which were settled prior to going to court, which are frequently settled by negotiation and/ or mediation.
A poll earlier this year by Direct Line suggested that 24% of UK residents would be prepared to contest a will if they were unhappy about how the deceased’s assets were divided. Surprisingly, people living in Southampton are statistically the most likely to contest a will, with 31% ready to bring a claim if necessary. London and Norwich follow next with 29% whilst people living in Sheffield were the least likely, with just 11% indicating they would contest a will.
The best way to address a claim is for the testator to consider potential claimants when they make their will and leave a letter of wishes explaining the rationale behind the will and why the will has been prepared in a particular way.
At Moon Beever, we ensure that we prepare bespoke wills for our clients. In the event that the will is challenged then we recommend that you seek our advice at the earliest opportunity so that we can consider the merits of any claim and how best to address that claim. Contact us on the details below if we can help you.