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Rising house prices and a move away from the traditional nuclear family have contributed to an increase in the number of children challenging their inheritance says a Swansea based estate planner.

In 2015 there was an 11% increase from the previous year on the number of children challenging their inheritance.

Wayne Dyer from Swansea based Compass Will Writers believes this increase is due to a rise in property prices, which mean there is more incentive for children to contest assets, and an increase in the number of complex family units including second marriages and step children.

“In addition to this, there is the fact that people are living longer. As a result, children are more likely to be financially comfortable by the time their parents age and this could lead to parents making alternative arrangements for their assets such as leaving them to a charity” said Wayne.

The increase in the number of inheritance challenges sits alongside a statistic that 27 million people have not drawn up a will. In such circumstances, a person’s estate would be distributed according to intestacy law which may not reflect the deceased’s wishes. This is a potential issue for the nearly six million people that live together in the UK without being married warns Wayne.

“Even if a couple have been living together for decades, they would not be entitled to anything if their partner die.

“Under intestacy law, only partners that are married or in a civil partnership at the time of death are eligible to inherit from the deceased. And step children, for example, who may be treated like the deceased’s own child, would not be legally eligible for anything.

“Ensuring that a will is completed and that its contents are discussed and understood amongst family members is the best way of approaching the issue” .

Post Author: Andrea Powell