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Rise In Children Contesting Their Parents' Wills After Increase In Property Value

Property Prices, Divorce And Charity Donations Are Factors Leading To Inheritance Challenges


Expert Will dispute lawyers at Irwin Mitchell say that it’s crucial to ensure all of your wishes are detailed clearly in a Will after a reported rise in the amount of children turning to the High Courts to challenge their parents’ Wills.

The increase in challenges has been attributed to the rise in property prices which has resulted in the value of estates rocketing with family members often quarrelling over the distribution of assets.

The increase in divorce and remarriages in families have exacerbated the position as extended family members battle for what they think is their rightful inheritance.

Even charities find themselves in the firing line as children whose parents have left donations to charities contest the Wills as they feel they should inherit their parents’ wealth instead.

The latest figures published in The Times show that the number of challenges disputing parents’ estates in the High Court rose to 116 in 2015, from previously 104 in 2014.

Under the Inheritance (Provisions for Family and Dependents) Act 1975, those disinherited or left with less than they need can make a claim. The Court will determine whether they can benefit depending on the financial needs of the child, the size of the estate and the financial needs of any other beneficiary.

Other dependents, such as co-habitees, nieces and nephews who may have been disinherited or received less than they were expecting are also thought to have contributed to the rise in claims.

Paula Myers, partner and head of the Will, Trust and Estate Disputes team at Irwin Mitchell, said:

Expert Opinion
“The increase in the number of wills being contested shows just how important it is to ensure that you leave a valid will which clearly outlines your final wishes.

“Many people also forget to update their wills after major life-changing events such as having children, divorce or remarriage. This can lead to problems in future as the extended family may feel aggrieved at being left out of the ‘old’ will.

“Ensuring your will is up to date and properly communicated to those family and friends affected can potentially prevent damaging family disputes further along the line.”
Paula Myers, Partner


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