Inheritance disputes are in the news again, with a recent article in The Times showing a rising number of inheritance challenges, with a record number of 116 cases of children disputing parents’ estates in the High Court in 2015, and plenty more being settled outside of Court.

A rise in property prices is being attributed as one of the main contributing factors, with families fighting over the distribution of assets following a rise in the value of family estates. Divorces and remarriages are also seen as a major factor, with extended family members also battling for what they think they are entitled to in terms of inheritance.

Charities are also feeling the brunt of these claims, with children battling it out in the High Court against them.  There has been a rise in those contesting where parents have left donations to charity as part of their Will, claiming that they should inherit their parents’ wealth instead of the charity beneficiaries. This could be seen as a result of the recent high profile case of an estranged daughter who successfully battled her mother’s decision to leave all of her money to animal charities.

It’s not just direct family members either, there has also been a rise in other dependants claiming against Wills, including co-habitees, nieces and nephews, who feel that they have received less than they were expecting.

It is possible to make a claim against a Will, under the Inheritance (Provisions for Family and Dependents) Act 1975.  If someone has been disinherited, or left with ‘less than they need’, the Court will then determine whether the claim is valid, depending on the financial needs of the dependant.

Disputing Wills and Inheritance Act claims are a complex area of the law and it is essential that you consult a solicitor with experience in this area. To speak to a solicitor who specialises in inheritance disputes, please call Farleys on 0845 287 0939 or contact us today.