I’ve written before about the upswing in trusts-and-estates litigation in this country [click here]. Now it’s the U.K.’s turn. An article in the Telegraph entitled Inheritance disputes: where there’s a will there’s a war, reported on factors fueling increased probate litigation in the U.K. If you take a look at the U.S. article linked-to above and the linked-to U.K. piece it’s amazing how the same demographic and societal trends in both countries are playing themselves out in a similar fashion through probate litigation. Here’s an excerpt from the U.K. article:
But it should not be surprising that inheritance disputes are so common: three-quarters of British citizens do not have a will, and 24 per cent of people anticipate that their inheritance could cause arguments among relatives, according to new research from Friends Provident. Lawyers from across Britain have told the Telegraph that they are handling ever-increasing numbers of will contentions. One northern firm, Brabners Chaffe Street, has reported a 200 per cent rise in the number of contested wills in the past three years alone.
While some solicitors cite high property prices, which make an estate well worth fighting over, others put the trend down to our newly litigious society and the fractured nature of modern families.
"Remarriages and children from previous relationships complicate an estate," says Simon Rylatt, head of contentious trusts and probate at law firm Boodle Hatfield. "There are more people who might be expecting to get a share - and more to feel resentment."
Credit goes to Prof. Gerry Beyer’s Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog for bringing the U.K. article to my attention in this blog post.