Nearly two in three people in the UK would be prepared to take their family or friends to court if they were wrongfully excluded from a loved one’s will, a new study has found.
JMW solicitors surveyed 1,000 UK adults on their knowledge and opinions surrounding contentious probate and will disputes.
The results identified that 60% of UK people are likely to contest a will if they feel they have been wrongfully excluded. Furthermore, if the challenge was to progress to court, 62% would continue to contest the will, while 60% said they would still challenge a will if it meant going up against a friend or relative.
“There are always difficult emotions and situations following the death of a loved one; however, the distress can be amplified if there are problems with their last will and testament,” said Alison Parry, Head of the Will Disputes team at JMW Solicitors.
One-in-five people surveyed anticipate being involved in a dispute over someone’s estate in the future due to relationships within their family.
Almost 10% of survey respondents have contested a will, with lack of testamentary capacity being the most common reason for making a challenge (45%). This was followed by lack of due execution (25%) and fraud or forgery (14%).
A spouse was the most common relationship of someone who has contested a will (17%), while ex-spouse was another common relationship at 13%.
However, despite the relative bullishness of respondents insofar as challenging a will, separate studies have suggested the majority of the UK avoids discussing the topic of inheritance altogether.
Specifically, despite 72% anticipating that they will leave some sort of inheritance to their loved ones, some 66% of people have not discussed the topic with their family due to its purported awkwardness, according to a Tower Street Finance poll of 2,000 adults in the UK who are – or expect to be – the beneficiary of a will.
What’s more, nearly a quarter of respondents said inheritance is the most awkward of any conversation they could have.