The increasing number of post-death disputes is not due to a change in the law but as a result of our changing demographic and social structure. No longer should a person expect a legacy from a parent, even in a wealthy family. Lifetime planning allows a will maker to make dispositions tailored to a beneficiary's circumstances, but things can change quickly and the dispositions may no longer be as appropriate at the time of the will maker's death. A court will only usually intervene in cases where there are problems with the will itself or the provisions of the will are not reasonable in the circumstances prevailing after the will maker has died.
New figures from the Ministry of Justice show a sharp rise in the number of contested wills being taken to court. Lawyers think it may be down to complex relationships with divorces and remarriages, but there is the suggestion that the rising value of property plays a role. What are last wishes worth if a court can overturn them?