IMPORTANT UPDATE: COVID-19

A new survey from Ramsdens Solicitors has revealed that widespread confusion around who can contest a will, and for which reasons, means that many people are missing out on inheritance that could be legally owed to them.

According to our Family Fortunes survey, two-thirds of the public admit that they do not have a will and 40% are unsure when they could contest a will. Furthermore, 85% of respondents had not heard of Inheritance Act claims, so a large portion of the general public would accept the terms of a will from which they had been excluded from, or by which they were insufficiently provided for.

The Ramsdens survey asked 1,127 adults in the UK about their knowledge of wills and contentious probate, and the article below contains the key trends and findings, along with the raw data. If you make reference to this data, please ensure you attribute credit to Ramsdens Solicitors.

Key trends and findings

  • The majority of the general population (63%) do not have a will
  • 39% of survey participants thought they were aware of the reasons that a will could be contested
  • The vast majority of people understand that a will can be contested if the deceased was not of sound mind (97%), if the will is forged (90%), when the writer has been manipulated (90%), or if they were unaware of the contents of the will (75%)
  • Only 24% believed that you can contest a will if you disagree with its contents - in fact, it is possible to challenge a will if you feel you have not received sufficient financial provision
  • Respondents are more willing to dispute a will for their partner than their parents or another family member
  • Respondents are more willing to dispute a will in court for their partner than their parents or another family member; 55% of respondents would be unlikely or very unlikely to go up against a friend or relative for division of the assets in court.
  • 81% of respondents are unlikely (48%) or very unlikely (33%) to contest the contents of another loved one or relative’s will even if it went against their wishes
  • 85% of people had not heard of Inheritance Act Claims, the legal course that allows people to take action when they have been excluded from a will

Complete Survey Findings

1. How old are you?


2. What is your gender?


3. Do you have children?


4. What is your relationship status?


5. Do you have a will in place to specify the division of your assets following your death?


6. Do you know what it means to contest a will?


7. Have you ever contested a will before?


8. What was your reason for contesting a will? (Please tick any that apply)


9. Whose will did you contest?


10. Was your case successful?


11. Are you aware of the reasons that a will can be contested?


12. To your knowledge, which of the following provide grounds to contest a will? (Tick any that apply)


13. How likely would you be to contest the contents of your parents' will if you thought you had been wrongfully excluded?


14. How likely would you be to continue this dispute if it meant you had to go to court?


15. How likely would you be to contest the contents of your partner's will if you thought you had been wrongfully excluded?


16. How likely would you be to continue this dispute if it meant you had to go to court?


17. How likely would you be to contest the contents of another loved one's will if you thought you had been wrongfully excluded?


18. How likely would you be to continue this dispute if it meant you had to go to court?


19. How likely would you be to contest a will if it meant going up against a friend or relative for division of the assets in court?


20. How likely would you be to contest the contents of your parent's will even if it went against their wishes?


21. How likely would you be to contest the contents of your partner's will even if it went against their wishes?


22. How likely would you be to contest the contents of another loved one or relative's will even if it went against their wishes?


23. How likely do you think it is that a friend or relative would launch a wills dispute against you because they believed they had been wrongfully excluded from a will?


24. How would you judge a friend or relative if they launched a wills dispute that could mean you would lose out on a relative's estate?


25. Have you heard of Inheritance Act Claims?