Making your Will watertight

There have recently been a number of reports in the press on the increasing number of Wills that have been challenged in court. According to the Ministry of Justice, the High Court heard 178 probate disputes in 2014, almost double the total of 97 in 2013, and the highest level in England and Wales since 2007. Considering only a small number of cases reach the High Court these figures are indicative of significant rise in contested Wills.

This has brought attention to last summer’s case of Ilott v Mitson. The ‘landmark ruling’ saw an estranged adult child succeed in her claim against her mother’s Estate on the basis that a ‘reasonable provision’ for her had not been made in the Will. The Mother in her will had bequeathed her estate to animal charities

Many lawyers have attributed the rise in contested Wills to surging property prices and complex family structures such as re-marriages, cohabitation, as well as families living further apart. ‘DIY’ Wills have also been scrutinised by some litigators who have said that in the absence of instructing a solicitor errors are being made, including not taking into account possible claimants on the estate.

Garside & Hoy offer a fixed fee for drafting Wills. If you wish to book an appointment, please contact Julia Newland on Julia.Newland@GarsideandHoy.co.uk

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