The purpose of writing a will is to ensure that the deceased has taken full care of where their assets should go and that their wishes are fulfilled, but sometimes it is not that simple.
A recent study by London-based law firm Kingley Napley found that the number of wills being contested in court is increasing every year, indicating a growing number of acrimonious disputes and suggesting many wills may contain flaws that leave them vulnerable to challenge.
Speaking to the Daily Express, senior associate at the firm Katherine Pyrmont said: ”Statistics published by the Ministry of Justice evidence that disputes in the High Court over wills continue to increase year on year.”
She said a particularly likely cause for this trend was “modern family dynamics”, as higher numbers of second marriages compared to previous generations means there may be more siblings from different marriages and thus more competing claims.
“Estates are worth more and consequently considered worth fighting over, particularly when there is no love lost between the parties,” Ms Pyrmont added, noting that there is “also a story behind the public figures” as only a fraction of these disputes reach court, with most being settled through mediation or dispute resolution.
She noted other factors include people living longer and the issue of dementia, which can lead to more wills being contested over claims of a lack of testamentary capacity and undue influence.
From this it should be evident that anyone using a will writing service in Colchester needs to get a will that is legally watertight and holds up against any legal challenge, as this can reduce the chances of it being contested.
An example of a will undergoing a particularly bitter dispute has been highlighted in the Law Society Gazette this week.
It featured a brother and sister battling over two wills made by their mother that would give the male sibling most of a £400,000 estate, which the sister is disputing on the grounds of diminished testamentary capacity after the mother was traumatised and allegedly left delusional by the death of her eldest child from cancer.