Contested Wills Reach Record-Breaking High

According to an article in YourMoney.com, contested wills was at an all-time high in 2019 and this is expected to rise in 2020 as a result of coronavirus.

The Ministry of Justice said that 188 cases had been brought to them in 2019. This is a significant increase from the 128 cases in 2018, 145 in 2017 and, the previously held record of, 158 in 2016.  Experts are preparing for 2020 to bring about a new record due to the global pandemic that has meant new ways of signing and witnessing wills have had to be implemented.  It is expected that more individuals will be claiming that they are entitled to a share of, or in some cases a larger portion of, an estate.

Last month, JMW Solicitors reported they had seen an increase of 260% in contested probate cases and Philip Collins, head of the contested estates team at Winckworth Sherwood said:

“We are not at all surprised by the new data coming out from the Ministry of Justice and expect this number to increase further.”

Furthermore, the article highlighted that the postponement and cancellation of weddings is also expected to be a cause of contested wills. Should one of the couple die without a will before the wedding can take place then this will leave their intended spouse without legal protection as there is little provision in English law for cohabiting couples.

Ben Lyon, will, trust and estate disputes solicitor at Irwin Mitchell, said that:

“One way to combat this would be to enter into a cohabitation agreement…the other alternative would be to make a will.”

To assist solicitors and legal professionals, Finders International offer a Missing Will Service which can help confirm a deceased’s intestacy status or check for a later version of a will. They also can apply for an AVIVA insurance policy to cover against the possibility of a will being found after distribution, giving solicitors and beneficiaries protection and peace of mind.

This article was submitted to be published by Finders International as part of their advertising agreement with Today’s Wills and Probate. The views expressed in this article are those of the submitter and not those of Today’s Wills and Probate.

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