Contentious probate figures rising

Ministry of Justice figures show that there has been a significant rise in the number of Wills being contested in Court. This is thought to be as a result of more family breakdowns and an increase in re-marriages, co-habitation and step-families.

Under The Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975, children (including adults), surviving spouse, former spouse who has not re-married, co-habitees and anyone that has been maintained by the deceased immediately prior to the deceased’s death is entitled to make a claim.

Claims are also being made that dispute that validity of a Will. These include:

  • The deceased was unduly influenced or coerced
  • The deceased did not approve the contents of their Will
  • The Will was forged
  • The deceased lacked ‘testamentary capacity’

Charities also have the right to contest a Will that has been made in their favour.

Figures released by the Alzheimer’s Society show that almost 50% of people with dementia in the UK receive a definite diagnosis and this number is increasing. "It is so important to ensure that your Will is clear and concise and reflects your wishes. Any changes in your life such as the death of a loved one, re-marriage, family members that have become estranged or increases in your family should be reflected in your Will and updated regularly to avoid complications in the future," emphasises Michelle Hayter, Dispute Resolution Partner.

Our Dispute Resolution Team, based in Christchurch, also cover Bournemouth, Poole and the New Forest. For a free initial chat, please call 01202 499255 and Michelle or a member of the team will be happy to discuss any questions that you may have.