Bartletts Solicitors has seen an increase in Will disputes and inheritance claims in recent years. Their advice to all local people is to ensure they have a watertight Will and, upon experiencing difficulties regarding inheritance, to seek professional legal advice.
“It is becoming increasingly important for people to have a properly prepared and indisputable will, as cases of contested wills and disputed inheritances now appear to be commonplace,” Nina Sperring, Solicitor at Bartletts Solicitors says.
“We’ve seen a sharp increase in the number of will disputes and inheritance claims in the last few years, possibly as a result of the fact that research carried out showed more than 60 percent of people in the North West of England don’t have a will, plus estates seem to be rising in value.”
A Will specifies how you wish your assets and estate to be distributed upon your death and if it is correctly prepared, signed and witnessed, then it is less likely to be contested.
Current intestacy law dictates that the spouse and immediate family inherit the estate when the deceased person has no will, meaning certain family members and friends can be left out as a result. Such individuals then often decide to make use of dependency law to make an inheritance claim.
Even when a will has been made, disputes still arise, especially when the nature of how or when the Will was made is contentious.
Nina adds: “We’ve handled Will and inheritance dispute cases involving various family feuds, from sibling rivalry to former partners believing they’ve not received their fair share.”
Homemade wills are particularly open to challenges, as are the methods and timings of a will.
“There may be grounds to challenge a Will if it is felt the individual was not of sound mind at the time of making the Will or was duped or bullied into signing in some way, although providing sufficient evidence in such cases is complex,” says Ms Sperring.
“In most cases, challenges can be settled outside of court, but when a will is shown to have an issue it then becomes the people who want the will to stand’s responsibility to illustrate its validity.”
Will disputes and inheritance claims cause a great deal of stress and heartache for loved ones at what is an already upsetting time.
Nina adds: “We have legal specialists in Wills and probate, and an excellent track-record of helping people in Chester and the North West region resolve will disputes, as well as making watertight Wills that are signed and executed according to legal requirements to reduce the likelihood of future challenges in the first place.”
Contact Nina Sperring at Bartletts Solicitors for advice on our wills and probates services