England: Inheritance cases soar

England: Inheritance cases soar

Legal battles over wills have soared in England and Wales by more than 34 per cent in five years, new figures show.

Data from the Ministry of Justice show that 195 inheritance disputes went to court last year — as compared with 145 in 2017.

Experts said that the records show only the “tip of the iceberg” in terms of the number of will disputes in England and Wales, as many rows did not make it to court.

The figures follow a number of high profile cases. The High Court last month backed the Swiss girlfriend of a Russian tycoon in a legal fight with his children from a previous marriage over his £100 million estate.

Nicola Walker, a partner at Private Client Solicitors, which looked at the UK government figures, said that remarriage was driving court disputes.

“Those people who feel that they ­haven’t been adequately provided for by a loved one’s will are fully entitled under the law to question the terms of that document,” she said.

Ms Walker said that although the courts are seeing record numbers of inheritance cases, the “vast majority of these issues don’t get that far”.

She added that “the longer that an ­estate is in abeyance, the more distressing it naturally becomes for those who are grieving and so there is … an ­inclination to settle”.

Share icon
Share this article: