Inheritance disputes rising – how can you protect your estate?

The answer is simple. Instruct a professional to prepare a Will for you, and consider also having Lasting Powers of Attorney prepared.

Inheritance disputes are rising year on year, and will likely continue to do so with the rise in death rates, virtual will executions, financial pressures, and blended families.

As a contentious probate solicitor, I very rarely have clients contact me for advice on what they can do pre death, to protect loved ones and their estate from a post death dispute. But this month, I was able to advise a client on steps they could take, when they could see the warning signs of a dispute connected to the contents of their Will. In this case, I was able to refer them to our Inheritance & Lifetime Planning team to revise their Will, add clarity, and suggest the appointment of an independent Executor, as well as LPAs. The squabbling family members were both Executors of the Will, which has a high chance of leading to estate administration issues post death.

I would strongly recommend that if you do not have a Will, or if you consider that there is likely to be conflict relating to your estate post death, that you obtain professional advice. Disputes cost enormous amounts, both financially and emotionally. This, along with bereavement, takes a huge toll.

Rising inheritance disputes set to diminish estate values, experts warn A recent spike in contentious probate disputes is costing families their inheritance. According to research conducted by the private wealth law firm Boodle Hatfield, the number of contentious probate and Will challenge cases in the UK is higher than ever. The firm reported that 192 cases were brought by those challenging a deceased’s estate in 2020, up from 188 in the previous year and a 50% increase from 2018. The Covid-19 pandemic is thought to be a 'potentially significant factor” in driving up cases due to the financial losses incurred by many during lockdown, in addition to the increasing value of several estates as a result of the Stamp Duty Land Tax holiday.