Inheritance disputes are rising – what can you do to protect your estate?

As you can see from the Telegraph article, inheritance disputes are on the rise. With more money at stake, parties are more likely to consider it worthwhile to fight it out in Court.

So how can you protect your estate? Here are my tips:

1. A professionally drafted Will, prepared by a solicitor who specialises in inheritance.

2. Select your Executors with CAUTION. It might sound obvious, but so often I see 3 warring siblings all appointed – that will never end well.

3. If you are married and going through a separation, seek urgent advice on a Will. Intestacy will mean the lion’s share will go to your spouse.

4. If you are cohabiting, or have someone dependent upon you financially, that you may not wish to provide for in the Will, take professional advice.

5. Give thought to lifetime gifts you may have made, or intend to make. Do you want these to be accounted for in the Will? If you do, document them carefully to avoid disputes later down the line. Include a Letter of Wishes.

Contact Hedges for advice. It is far cheaper to spend money before you are gone. If you estate is contested then your family members might find themselves having no change from £50,000+ if the case goes to Trial.

There has been a sharp rise in the number of millionaire inheritances – and families are willing to fight tooth-and-nail for their share. The number of inherited estates worth more than £1m has soared by more than a third in just five years, from 8,340 in 2013-14 to 11,210 in 2018-19, according to HM Revenue & Customs.
Law firm Forsters said that the rise in millionaire estates has led to more people challenging wills. Over the past ten years, more than 2,300 will disputes have been heard by the High Court. Since most disputes settle out of court, the real number is likely to be much higher. In 2020, for example, more than 10,000 caveats were submitted to probate registries as beneficiaries moved to block the execution of their loved one’s wills.