Inheritance - Half Of Brits Could Be Missing Out
JMW Solicitors has published results from a
new survey of 1,000 respondents revealing that half (50.05%) of Britons do not understand the grounds on which a will can be contested. Despite this, 80% of Britons claim to know what it means to contest a will - highlighting a significant gap in the public’s understanding of wills and their provisions.
To contest a will, there must be grounds to suspect any of the following:
Lack of testamentary capacity The person who made the will was not of sound mind when giving instructions about the distribution of their assets.
Lack of due execution A will must be signed in the presence of at least two witnesses, and it must appear that the person making the will intended to give effect to its contents.
Fraud or forgery A will that has been forged or altered in any way.
Undue influence The person who made the will was manipulated or coerced into making certain provisions in their will.
Lack of knowledge or approval The person who made the will did not know of the contents of the will or approve of its contents.
Poisoning of the mind False statements made to the testator about someone who otherwise may have benefitted from the will with the aim of encouraging the person to change the contents of their will.
Further results show a lack of knowledge on time limits to contest a will or issue a claim against an estate. More than half (56.59%) of respondents did not know that a will typically needs to be contested within 12 years of the deceased's passing.
Similarly, 56.38% were unaware of the six-month time limit to bring a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. However, two-thirds (65.75%) of Britons understand that they can challenge the distribution of an estate in cases of intestacy.
In light of these findings, Alison Parry Head of Wills Disputes at JMW Solicitors said: "Our survey results highlight the importance of public education on wills and probate matters. Understanding the legal complexities surrounding wills could prove vital in safeguarding potential inheritances. We are committed to providing the necessary guidance to help people navigate this often confusing area of law."