Contested Wills and Probate Disputes Rising

Lee Dawkins, a solicitor specialising in disputed wills, finds that the press reports of a legacy litigation boom are not exaggerated

Disputing a Will has never been more popular. The Independent has recently reported a 700% increase over the last 5 years in the number of cases in the High Court in London involving a challenge to the provision in a Will.

The newspaper speculates that the recession is a major factor in the rise of cases. Property values have fallen over the last couple of years and this has lead to family disputes arising as beneficiaries discover that they stand to inherit less than they thought.

Increasingly more complex family structures is another factor. Remarriages continue on an upward trend and step-families are common place. This is a breeding ground for family disputes.

Lee Dawkins, a contentious probate solicitor, says that these statistics mirror his own firm’s experience:

“The legacy litigation boom that has been reported in the press is real. In the last few years we have witnessed a steady growth in the number of contested probate cases we deal with.

People are much more likely to challenge a Will now than they were in the past. We have also seen a marked rise in the number of Inheritance Act claims being made.”

These increased volumes of work support the statistics reported in the press. They can be partly explained by social and economic factors such as the diversification of family structures and the credit crunch, but our own success in this area has also played a part. We are now one of the country’s leading contentious probate dispute firms. Our free helpline receives calls every day from people seeking legal advice on challenging a Will or bringing an Inheritance claim.

We operate a free Legacy Litigation Helpline, offering a free initial case assessment. Call us on 0808 139 1606 or email Lee Dawkins direct at lee.dawkins@sleeblackwell.co.uk