A quarter of adults are now prepared to dispute a Will
1 in 4 people are willing to challenge against a loved one’s Will if they disagree with the distribution
of the estate, a survey reveals.
(Survey commissioned by Direct Line)
The problem –
The readiness of family members to oppose a relative’s last wishes is reflected in official court
statistics, which show Will disputes are continuously on the rise.
Partner at law firm Nockolds, Daniel Winter, has previously stated that the increased number of
inheritance cases reaching the High Court is only the tip of the iceberg of family disputes which are
either settled or end up in County Court.
He says: “Modern family structures are making inheritance claims increasingly likely. People are more likely
to marry multiple times, or cohabit outside of marriage, and if there are children or stepchildren
involved, the likelihood of someone feeling hard done by is even greater than before.
More people are relying on an inheritance to get on the property ladder or to provide for them in
retirement, or to repay their mortgage. If someone is left out of a Will, or stands to inherit less than
they were expecting, this can trigger a dispute”
The most common legal reasons for contesting a Will are:
- Undue influence – where the client was forced to sign a will or unreasonable pressure was
put on them
- Lack of knowledge and approval – where the client was not aware of the contents or there
were suspicious circumstances
- Testamentary capacity – where the client wasn’t mentally competent or had the legal ability
to make or alter a Will
- The reality is that a client’s Will may well be declared invalid if poor notes are kept and the Will is
- Unfortunately, a client’s Will only really describes WHAT they wish to do with their estate, and
doesn’t include any of their deciding factors, circumstances surrounding the Will drafting and
execution or their mental capacity, which will be questioned if a claim arises.