45% increase in inheritance disputes as families fight over fortunes

Year-on-year we have seen increasing numbers of siblings, partners and even stepchildren taking to Google and other search engines to find legal representation to contest wills and inheritances. This is also the finding of a recent Sunday Times article, where they state some of the reasons fuelling this in-family fighting being ‘sky-high property prices, increasingly complex family trees and medical advances that help people to live much longer’.

The article noted that the number of disputes heard by the High Court has ‘rocketed’ over the past decade, with one leading law firm seeing a 45% jump in cases. “The legal battles can be long and costly,’ it adds, highlighting the case of the Folkes siblings – who became embroiled in a two-year High Court case over their wealthy mother’s fortune, where one claimed would have been worth £28m without the other’s influence.

Quilter tax and financial planning expert Rachael Griffin told the Sunday Times that the case highlights the need for ‘difficult conversations’ if a family member showed signs of declining mental capacity – as the Folkes sibling mother did before she died – and the value of taking early action to avoid the risk of a costly legal battle.

Hugh James partner Roman Kubiak notes: ‘The huge increase in house prices means that estates now are significantly larger than they were even 20 years ago. Millennials, in particular, are feeling the squeeze, so if left out of a will they may need to seek financial provision.’

At mmadigital, one of our brands, ‘The Inheritance Experts’, provides a leading platform for people seeking legal representation to either to bring or defend an inheritance claim to be introduced to one of our panel law firms that specialise in the field of contested probate.  Firms interested in receiving enquiries from the panel can find out more at: www.mmadigital.co.uk/solutions/contested-probate/ and apply either by calling 0161 452 0311 or completing the enquiry form on the website.