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Posted 7 August 2019
by Martin Laver

The continued rise in the number of disputed wills


Making the decision whether to dispute a will can often be a difficult one to make. However, perhaps unsurprisingly, a recent survey report by Direct Line shows that approximately one in four people are willing to dispute a will.

The survey results are reflected in the rise in Court statistics:

  1. Over 8,000 caveats were filed at the Probate Registry in 2017 to prevent the Grant of Probate being issued to personal representatives. A caveat is a useful tool if you have concerns about the validity of the will and intend to pursue a claim disputing the validity of the will. A caveat will prevent the Grant of Probate/Letters of Administration being issued. This means that the personal representative will not be able to administer the estate until the caveat has been removed or expires. You should seek legal advice before filing a caveat at the Probate Registry as it may not always be appropriate.
  2. The number of claims reaching the Courts in which a will is in dispute continues to rise. There are a number of factors likely to be behind the increase:
    A. The high profile case of Ilott v Mitson;
    B. The dynamics of the modern family;
    C. Rising house prices; and
    D. The increased number of ‘homemade wills’.

If you would like some advice on whether you may be able to dispute a will, please contact a member of our Disputed Wills & Trusts Team on 01392 207761 or email

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About the author

Martin Laver

Partner and Solicitor

Partner in the commercial litigation team specialising in disputed trusts and Wills