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What is Really Underpinning The Rise of Inheritance Disputes?

Posted: Friday, 16 July 2021 @ 14:17

It is well known that over the past 10 years there has been a significant rise in inheritance disputes. By way of example in 2019 the number of contested wills heard in the High Court reached an all time high and was 47% more than the previous year.

There are some obvious factors for underpinning this such as the rise in fragmented families(divorcees, cohabiting families, step-relatives etc). This creates a multitude of possible conflicts and thus possible legal disputes.

Rise of House Prices - Money talks and there are higher stakes for parties as the size of estates have got larger.

In my opinion a bigger factor than these two is the willingness to sue and the refusal of both parties to backtrack on their legal action. Recently I was in Court on behalf of a client and the judge emphasised that what he wanted he to see was respect for the wishes of the Deceased who would have been repelled by seeing legal action take place.

However as a society while people in the past may have tolerated difficult family relationships and tensions irrespective of the legality of a situation people are much more inclined to sue. According to a survey from Direct Line in 2020 22% of UK residents would contest a loved one's will.

What I find with some people irrespective of the legal position, the desire to sue is an overwhelming factor in the taking of legal action.