The number of Wills being contested is on the rise. More people are questioning the validity or execution of their loved ones last wishes… and it’s a Solicitors absolute worst nightmare. It can damage reputations and lead to legal and financial consequences for legal firms. It sometimes feels as though estate planning is getting more complicated, and people seem more open to challenging what they disagree with…
But why is this happening? We think there are several factors, and we’ll explore them below:
- Family structures are getting more complex. Modern families are often more complex than in the past, with more blended families, second marriages, and non-traditional relationships. It makes the world a more interesting place, but it can make it more difficult to create a Will that satisfies all parties and reduces the risk of conflict.
- The public are quicker to challenge certain outcomes. Contested Wills are making the news and as more people become aware of this, and in some cases, their legal rights, they may feel there is more potential for challenging a Will. They may be more likely to contest one that they feel does not adequately reflect their interests or those of the deceased.
- People are living longer. There’s more time for family dynamics and relationships to change. People’s last wishes can change over time, so updating Wills more regularly is becoming more important.
- One of the wealthiest generations of all time are starting to pass over. From our Great Wealth Transfer white paper, we know that over the next 30 years, UK families will inherit £5.5trillion… this is an historic amount of money and it means the stakes are getting higher in inheritance disputes. It makes it more likely that beneficiaries will contest a Will that they feel does not provide them with a fair share of the family estate.
- Legal services are more accessible. With the rise of online legal services and other resources, it may be easier for potential challengers to obtain legal advice and representation in contesting a Will.
Overall, these factors contribute to a greater potential for conflicts over Wills, making it more important for individuals to engage in careful estate planning and for estate planning professionals to ensure that Wills are drafted with a view to minimising the risk of disputes.
Arken.legal provides comprehensive Will writing software that supports estate planning professionals in keeping detailed client interview notes, it has risk mitigation features and a digital mental capacity check built in. It can include an Expression of Wishes document as part of the Will pack – along with many other features that help protect the reputation of legal firms.
For more information on how Arken’s products can help safeguard your business, get in touch today for a personalised demonstration.