Dispute highlights growing trend in will challenges


Ms Ames' claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 is illustrative of an increasing trend in adult children challenging their parents' Wills. 

According to figures produced by the Ministry of Justice, the number of such High Court cases increased from 97 in 2013 to 178 in 2014. It is worth bearing in mind that only a small proportion of such claims are heard by the Court as many settle before they go to trial.

The Times attributes the increase to an aging population where there is a growing number of people suffering from dementia. It is also likely that the surge in property prices in London and the South East, as well more complex family units, which can lead to disputes, such as in the Ames case, between second spouses and the deceased's children from previous relationships, are also factors.

So what will be the impact of Brexit? It remains to be seen but when times are tougher, people may be more reliant on the prospect of inheriting money so such Will challenges are unlikely to go away. This is particularly so with a growing array of litigation funding options available to prospective claimants making the economics of such claims ever more viable.

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In a case that typifies a growing trend of wills being legally challenged, Danielle Ames, 41, told a London court yesterday that her father had promised her: “One day all this will be yours.”
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