One in four would contest the will of a loved one

One in four people would challenge bequests in the will of a loved one if they were unhappy with the division of the estate, according to research from Direct Line Life Insurance.

Regional differences were evident among among the 2,000 nationally representative adults surveyed, with Southampton residents (31 per cent) most likely to feel they were being unfairly excluded from a will and then contest it in court, followed by London (29 per cent) and Norwich (29 per cent).

When it comes to grounds for contesting wills, research among 100 family lawyers by Direct Line found the most common legal reason to be 'undue influence', despite it being the least successful grounds for doing so:

Most common grounds for contesting a will

  1. Undue influence
  2. Lack of knowledge and approval
  3. Fraudulent wills and forged wills
  4. Lack of valid execution
  5. Testamentary capacity
  6. Rectification and construction claims
  7. Provision for family and dependents

Most successful grounds for contesting a will

  1. Lack of knowledge and approval
  2. Testamentary capacity
  3. Rectification and construction claims
  4. Provision for family and dependents
  5. Lack of valid execution
  6. Fraudulent wills and forged wills
  7. Undue influence

Jane Morgan, business manager at Direct Line Life Insurance, says: “People can be surprised and hurt by the contents of a will, so people may wish to discuss with beneficiaries and those that might think they would inherit, how they plan to distribute their assets.”

Direct Line also says its analysis of figures from HM Courts and Tribunals Service shows more than 8,000 'caveats' were registered in attempts to block probate in 2017.

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This is Money and the The Independent