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Since 2019, there appears to be a rise in probate disputes being reported more frequently in the media.

The question is Why is that?

According to HM Courts and Tribunals Office, the reason for this increase is due to a number contributing of factors, these including: 

  • Clients making DIY Wills, which are often full of errors and omissions, either using a DIY Will Pack of documents or writing their own version of a Will. 
  • An increase of forged Wills
  • The capability of a testator who created the Will.
  • Lack of valid execution with regards with family and dependants.
  • Or Challenging the Testator under grounds of “undue influence”  (Undue influence occurs when an individual is able to persuade another’s decisions due to the relationship between the two parties)

A poll carried out in January 2020, by Direct Line revealed that 30% of UK residents would be prepared to contest a Will if they were unhappy about how the deceased assets were divided.12 million would be prepared to fight the division of a loved one estates. 

According to HM Courts and Tribunals Office, £160,000 caveats were filed to contest probate applications excluding any legal fees. A caveat prevents the assets of the estate being distributed pending the outcome of the dispute. Many of these don’t even reach the court as they are often settled out of court. 

Statistically in Southampton they were more likely to ignore the wishes of a loved one and contest a Will with 31% ready to log a claim if necessary, whilst  London and Norwich followed next with 29%. People living in Sheffield were least likely 11% indicating they would contest a Will.

 

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