Challenges to wills soar in England

Challenges to wills soar in England

Challenges to wills soar in England

by | Inheritance

There has been a huge increase in the number of challenges to wills in the UK.  Statistics recently released for 2015 reveal challenges to wills rose from 11,735 in 2014 to 14,167 in 2015.  The majority of these cases are settled out of court.  But in 2015 164 cases were heard by the High Court, almost double that of 2014.

What has led to increasing trend to challenge peoples final wishes?

I have been following the long running case of Ilott v Mitson in my blogs with interest.  An estranged adult daughter challenged her late mothers will which disinherited her under the 1975 Inheritance Provision for Family and Dependent Act. In the end Court awarded her a small sum but the case took 10 years to resolve.  Some may argue that the publicity around the case and other celebrity estate challenges may be a factor in the increase in claims now being seen.

The increasing number of divorces and remarriages in modern society may also be a factor.  Nearly 10% of over 65’s in England are divorced.  The failure to update your will after a major life change may leave your old or new family without an inheritance under statutory provisions.

However, the most likely factor in the increased number of estate challenges is likely to be connected to the ever increasing value of bricks and mortar.  Therefore if your estate includes a house, the value will have been increasing steadily over the last 20 years.  With larger sums at stake, disappointed family members may be more likely to instigate legal action.

Bear in mind that most wills are a reflection of the life you have led.  So those close to you will benefit.  But be aware that someone in your life may be expecting a gift and if it does not transpire, the financial or emotional hurt could lead to a costly, timely claim on your estate.

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