Contentious probate cases increase

Figures have just been released which reveal that the number of High Court contentious probate cases have doubled since 2006 – no doubt as a result of increasing financial pressure on families left behind.
663 contentious probate cases were heard by the High Court last year, although it is thought that hundreds more are usually settled before a case reaches this stage.
Wills can be challenged if it can be proven that the deceased was not of sound mind when they had the document prepared, or that they were coerced into leaving their money to a specific individual. In some instances, if any remaining children or dependants who relied upon income received from the deceased during their lifetime, can prove that their future has not been adequately provided for, the Will can then in specific circumstances, also be overturned.
The Law Commission is in the process of appealing for a change to intestacy rules but in the meantime, a responsible and experienced probate practitioner should always encourage any disputes over a Will to be settled before expensive Court costs are incurred.

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