There is no question that the prevalence of Will disputes has been steadily on the rise over the past decade, but why is this? Here is a look at the 3 main reasons for this phenomenon.
The global recession has seen a decrease in the size or value of many people’s property. As a result, there tends to be a smaller amount available to dole out in a person’s Will, meaning that many beneficiaries are left with a smaller amount than they feel is fair or deserved. This has led to a rise in Will disputes in recent years, as many people try to navigate the complex path of justice. Furthermore, in a climate where it is difficult to make one’s own fortune, the temptation to steal another’s is ever stronger. As a result, cases of undue influence are on the rise, where gold diggers or distant relatives pop up seemingly from nowhere in order to secure their piece of the pie. Such cases can be distressing and frustrating for the relatives who are missing out on the inheritance that was due to them, and contesting a Will often allows things to be set straight.
Modern Family Structures
Rising rates of single parenthood and divorce make for a complex landscape when it comes to inheritance. The complications of the modern family mean that there is often a second family at play, whether it be known about or not. In the wake of a family member’s death, emotions and tensions can run high, leading to inter-family disputes on who is the rightful beneficiary of their estate. Whilst it is easy to split some things down the middle such as money, the division of property such as houses and heirlooms becomes a little more complex. In such cases, the fight can often become personal rather than monetary, making for a messy legal battle in which it is difficult to reach a mutually agreeable decision. Whilst there are laws in Australia to ensure that any dependents are factored into a Will in the wake of a death in the family, with so many beneficiaries able to lay claim to an estate on the grounds of Family Provision it can become increasingly complex to navigate. In such cases, mediation is the key. Allowing emotions to take over is likely to result in a lengthy legal battle, which is why it is less stressful and more cost effective to sit down with a lawyer and talk it out until a mutually agreeable decision has been met.
Badly Executed Wills
The modern state of mind tends towards the idea that we’re all going to live forever, and this fear and avoidance of speaking about death means that many of us are highly disorganised when it comes to writing our Wills. Although it is an essential task that must be completed by all of us, there is a tendency to put it off. As a result, many people pass without having a Will in place or without having the proper safeguards such as documentation or a solicitor’s approval. This leaves many Wills in a state where they are liable to be contested.
These are just some of the many factors that have contributed to the recent rise in Will challenges. If you feel that your loved one’s Will needs to be contested, it is advisable to seek the legal guidance of a professional law firm who will be able to advise you on how to go about it.