Experts look at why contesting a will is becoming more common

Published 20 Aug 2013

Inheritance disputes are occurring more frequently in many developed nations, and to understand this emerging trend, one Canadian will expert broke down the factors that may be contributing to higher contestation rates.

Although testator mistakes are certainly one area of concern, and can lead to heated inheritance disputes, these aren’t likely to be the driving force behind the higher rates. While human error will always be a part of manually created documents, there isn’t any reason these rates would rise.

Even issues relating to the capacity of the testator at the time that they were writing the will aren’t the culprits between higher contestation frequencies. Though these are undoubtedly another area from which disputes can arise, the laws that determine who is in the right state to draft a will are set in stone.

The factors that are prompting more people to contact contesting wills lawyers are rooted in outside, macro trends affecting the whole world, according to inheritance dispute expert Ian M. Hull.

A global trend

The most obvious factor is likely be the global recession, which is currently seeping deeper into Australia’s major cities.

“A poor economic climate which puts greater pressure on estates as beneficiaries rely more heavily upon their anticipated inheritance to ease personal financial burdens,” Mr Hull wrote.

“If a beneficiary feels slighted by a will, it may prompt legal action. A recession would reduce the value of many estates, leading to an increased demand for a diminishing pool of assets.”

Mr Hull added that changing family dynamics are also leading to more disputes. This is especially true for families joined together through marriage.

With divorce rates on the rise, more people are meeting each other with families already established. This can result in a complex will with ample room for error or ambiguity – an age old recipe for inheritance disputes.

These factors are joining up with other common reasons, driving contesting rates higher. Of course, the rapid population growth must be accounted for – with a higher aging population, frequency will most certainly rise – but the growing life expectancies are also having influence.

As more people contest a will, the demand for experts in inheritance disputes will likely rise, as well. These contesting wills lawyers are crucial for understanding the ins and outs of any will that is drafted.

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