Disputed wills – why are they on the increase?

January 20, 2016

When the time comes for your estate to be divvied up in accordance with your will, there’s no escaping the fact that you’ll be dead (yes, another cheery article from us).

Arguably then, you probably won’t be worrying too much about what’s going on at that point. But if you’ve gone to the bother of making a will (and you should), it’s probably because you have loved ones you care about. And we’re sure you’d want to avoid the awful situation of those loved ones arguing over your will. But these types of disputes are on the increase.

High Court records from recent years show that the number of will dispute cases rose by a staggering amount. One reason behind this is the increase in the size of people’s wealth and their estates when they pass away.

We also live in more complicated family structures than in the past with more people co-habiting, divorcing, remarrying and taking responsibility for children from previous relationships. This makes drawing up a will a more complex process and can sometimes lead to unhappy family members who feel they have been left out, or should receive more.

The most common dispute according to the figures is probate, mostly due to an individual challenging the validity of a will. However, there may be other reasons why claims are made, such as a claim made by an individual under the Inheritance Act who has been left out of a will, breach of trust claims, and claims against executors or personal representatives.

How can you minimise the chances of a disputed will?

The only way to minimise the chances of a disputed will is to make sure your will reflects any significant changes in your circumstances such as moving house, receiving an inheritance, remarrying or having children. It’s all too common for people to make a will and then forget about it. But everyone’s situation will change over time and it’s essential your will reflects that.

The law can be very complex. That’s why it’s a very good idea to seek specialist advice if you’re thinking of drawing up a will, changing a will, or disputing a will.

If you have any questions relating to this article, or would like to know more about wills, we recommend you contact our favourite solicitor: Ann-Marie Matthews at Barker Gotelee Solicitors on 01473 350574 or email Ann-Marie.Matthews@barkergotelee.co.uk. She can help you sort it all out.. She’s a good egg and will give you sound help and advice. She might even make you a cuppa if you say we sent you!


This article is for general use only and is not intended to address your particular requirements. It should not be relied upon in its entirety and shall not be deemed to be or constitute advice.

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