News

Record number of wills challenged in court as thousands more families get involved in inheritance disputes


  • Rich baby boomers dying, a rise in dementia and TV dramas all behind the surge 
  • Have YOU been involved in a will dispute? Email Sam.Lawley@mailonline.co.uk 

Up to 10,000 people are now challenging wills every year – as the number of disputes reaches record levels.

The dramatic surge is down to deaths among baby boomers, who own more property than subsequent generations which raises the financial stakes for descendants.

A rise in second marriages and more people suffering from dementia, which raises doubts over whether wills have been drawn up correctly, are also to blame.

Lawyers also believe that executing wills via videolink, a practice seen regularly during Covid, could be behind the increase in disputes.

Those suffering from the cost-of-living crisis might also be more likely to take risks and challenge wills.

Up to 10,000 people are now challenging wills every year - as the number of disputes reaches record levels (Stock Photo)

Up to 10,000 people are now challenging wills every year – as the number of disputes reaches record levels (Stock Photo)

Paul Grimwood, a partner in disputed wills, trusts and probate at IBB Law, told The Guardian that TV dramas and documentaries portraying high-profile cases often inspired people to challenge wills.

He added that going to trial was proving ‘ruinously expensive’ for those involved. 

This comes as HM Revenue and Customs looks set to take in £7.5 billion worth of inheritance tax receipts – its highest figure on record.

The number of cases going in front of judges has also soared from 145 in 2017 to 195 in 2021-22 but most disputes continue to be settled out of court.

Among those who can challenge a will  are current and former spouses, civil partners, children, long-term cohabitees, and anyone maintained financially or treated as a child by the deceased, under the 1975 Inheritance Act.

Holly McIntosh, from Surrey, said her stepmother had ‘broken up’ their family ‘for a bit more money’ in her father’s will.

The document had initially handed his house to his daughters and his investments to the stepmother, his second wife, but after two years of legal battles, and £400,000 of costs, the stepmother won a third of the house.

The daughters and the second wife would have taken £600,000 in the original will meaning the stepmother achieved a negligible gain.

Heather Roberts, a lawyer for Bexley Beaumont who acted for McIntosh, said: ‘Most clients feel a sense of relief once a settlement is reached, as they can start to grieve.’

Three in four people are now likely to experience a will, inheritance or probate dispute, according to a study by legal firm IBB Law last year. 

Richard Manyon of top London firm Payne Hicks Beach previously told MailOnline that there were ‘more dodgy wills’ thanks to an increase in dementia. 

Cases going in front of judges has also soared from 145 in 2017 to 195 in 2021-22 but most disputes continue to be settled out of court (Stock Photo)

Cases going in front of judges has also soared from 145 in 2017 to 195 in 2021-22 but most disputes continue to be settled out of court (Stock Photo)

Mr Manyon advised people writing wills to ‘explain your reasons and give people an opportunity to raise their objections with you’.

In terms of disputes, he added: ‘If you can knock it on the head, you’re going to avoid huge legal costs and stress, and it’s going to be a better outcome.’

Some names in the article have been changed. 



Source link

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button