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What’s causing the rise in inheritance disputes?

What’s causing the rise in inheritance disputes?

Want to contest a Will? Why you need the experts

Inheritance disputes are rising fast and the number of law firms offering advice on this area of the law has more than doubled since 2018, according to recent research.

That’s why it’s never been more important to choose solicitors like Wards with a proven track record over many years and a reputation for excellence.

What’s causing the rise in inheritance disputes?

Figures show that Inheritance Act claims rose by 72% in 2021 and challenges to the distribution of inherited estates jumped to 9,926 in the same year, up 37 per cent.

Every day, we deal with disputes arising from:

  • Poorly drafted and DIY Wills.
  • Issues caused by re-marriage, blended families and cohabitation.
  • Soaring property prices with families falling out over the distribution of wealth as a result.
  • People living longer meaning more Wills are being made when someone is ill with capacity a matter of contention.
  • Wills being made years ago with no updates to reflect personal and financial changes.

Who is most likely to challenge a Will?

New data from market intelligence company, IRN Legal Reports, confirms the trends we are seeing in our day to day Contentious Probate work and some of the reasons behind the rise in claims.

  • Sibling inheritance disputes are the most common.
  • Most disputes are over a father’s Will.
  • More cohabitees are taking action than ever before.
  • Cases of fraudulent calumny – when someone with mental capacity is tricked into changing their Will through fraud – are becoming more common.
  • One in three disputes are initiated by a non-family member or a colleague of the deceased (33%) or a neighbour (22%).
  • Issues over whether someone has testamentary capacity to make or change a Will are increasing

How are inheritance claims solved?

The aim of specialist contentious probate lawyers like Wards Solicitors is always to try to settle any case out of court to minimise stress, upset and costs.

How do you claim under the Inheritance Act?

If you are unhappy with a Will you may be able to contest it under The Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.

This allows those who are eligible to bring a claim against the estate of a deceased person where ‘reasonable financial provision’ has not been made for them under the terms of the Will or if there was no Will.

We have prepared three legal guides to help you:

Get in touch

If you would like to contest or defend a Will, the help of a specialist lawyer is vital as every case needs to be looked at on an individual basis. Time limits also apply.

For help and advice, please contact Wards Solicitors’ Contentious Trusts and Probate Team.

Our lawyers are members of the Association of Contentious Trusts and Probate Specialists (ACTAPS), the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE) and the Law Society’s Probate Panel. All demand a high level of expertise and up to date knowledge from their members.

Wards Solicitors’ team is praised by the Legal 500 Guide for 2023 for its broad contentious trusts and probate practice with a particular emphasis on Inheritance Act and Court of Protection matters.

Head of the team, Elizabeth Fry, is highlighted as a key lawyer specialising in high value and multi-jurisdictional matters with four other members of the team also recommended.

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