After seeing a rise in the number of disputes between family members following the death of a loved one, we decided to commission research to show the importance of writing a valid will and explaining the reasons behind your decisions to your children and family.
To support the research we will be releasing a series of blogs which highlight issues surrounding will writing and family feuds over inheritance.
Death is a hard subject at the best of times. Talking about who will get what in your last will and testament is not an easy conversation to hold with your loved ones, yet it is one you should have none the less.
It is essential to talk about your will with your family because more and more people are reliant on an inheritance nowadays, as demonstrated in our blog Top Eight Reasons Why People Rely on Inheritance Money.
Due to recent high profile court cases like Ilot v Mitson more people are aware of the rights they have over their parents’ estates. Over the past five years there has been a 700 per cent increase in the number of High Court legal battles over wills.
Slater and Gordon have seen the number of contentious probate claims rise over the past ten years. It is saddening when we see family relationships strained by arguments over an inheritance, especially when they could be avoided.
People need to enlist the services of a specialist lawyer to help them write a will that stands up in court and it helps to talk through the decisions you’ve made with your family to help avoid these kinds of conflicts. By letting your intentions known to your loved ones before you die, they will fully understand the thought process behind your will and should refrain from arguing over what they might have expected to inherit.
The rise in property prices has contributed to the increased number of people contesting wills. When a loved one dies feelings often can run high and this has been intensified in recent years with the amount of money at stake in an estate. The rise in property prices has made estates larger and more valuable than ever before and this means there is more incentive to contest a will.
Furthermore, an inheritance can make the difference between being financially comfortable and not people put their life on hold waiting for an inheritance. People wait for an inheritance to help them get a mortgage, buy a bigger house, pay off debts or even fund a wedding.
So often families can avoid a lot of heartache by being open with one another about what their intentions are when it comes to their estate especially where property is involved. But if you feel you have not received what you think you should have it is always best to get legal advice from a specialist.
James Beresford is the Head of the Wills, Tax, Trust and Probate at Slater and Gordon Lawyers in Manchester.