Each year there are many dispute cases reported in the UK relating to estates and how they are being distributed. However, these claims seem to be on the rise as the year 2019 saw an all time high of 188 cases – an increase of 47% from the 2018 figures. It is also important to take into consideration that these figures only record cases which are heard before a judge and therefore do not represent the disputes which are settled or abandoned before the case reaches court.
There are many contributing factors to these figures, from the relentless rise of house prices to complex family structures through multiple marriages and cohabitation. Disputes often occur where these factors drive the number of potential claims to an estate up.
The figures are expected to rise even further in 2020 due to the economic effects of Covid-19 adding to the financial pressures already weighing on families and individuals.
These figures show the importance of writing a will which represents your wishes in relation to the distribution of your estate after your death, although this does not prevent someone making a claim under the Inheritance (Provisions for Family and Dependents) Act 1975 it may make it far more difficult for a claim to succeed if your wishes are clearly stated within your will. Clauses can also be included within your will to deter potential claims under the 1975 Act.
A claim may also be brought questioning the validity of your will. The validity of a will can be disputed for a variety of reasons including how the will was prepared and executed, disputing whether you had mental capacity at the time the will was executed and if there was any undue influence of a particular party. Therefore, it is important that a solicitor is instructed to write your will for you to ensure that your will is sheltered for any such claims.
Whether you are looking for advice regarding writing a will or you are seeking to contest one, it is essential that you consult a solicitor with experience in this area. Please call Farleys Solicitors on 0845 287 0939 or submit your enquiry online and one of our team will call you back.