COVID-19 estates – claim rates rising rapidly – why?

IDR Law are now dealing with their 7th Covid-19 related estate dispute.  There will undoubtedly be more to come – but why?

The first and perhaps most obvious reason is that the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a significant spike in the number of deaths over the last 4 months – if 5-10% of all deceased estates are subject to some form of claim, then as an operation of pure mathematical logic, the number of claims will increase in line with this spike.

But there is much more to it than that. We believe the reducing pandemic R rate will not see a corresponding reduction in the speed and volume of claims coming through. There are several reasons for this, including the prominence of “blended family units”, longer life, increasing dementia rates etc.

Here are 4 key facts that support our belief:

Fact 1.  The Royal Courts of Justice reported earlier this month that the number of contentious probate claims issued in court (the tip of the contentious iceberg) – increased on the year before. This relates to a period pre-pandemic. So claims were already on the rise before COVID-19 – society is more litigious than ever.

Fact 2.  Even in the face of COVID-19, there are far more people without wills than there are with one. Dying without a will often leaves a significant number of problems that subsequently gives rise to inheritance disputes. COVID-19 social distancing has made making wills harder and is likely to give rise to challenges based on how those wills were made and/or executed.

Fact 3.  One in three individuals are currently relying on an inheritance to pay off mortgages, debt or provide retirement funds1. With approximately £1.3 trillion passing between 2017 and 2027, the generation receiving this inheritance is getting more than any other generation before it – estates are worth more than ever before and, with more to fight over, more claims are likely.

Fact 4.  One in four say they will bring a claim against a loved one’s estate2 if they do not get the inheritance they are expecting. With unemployment rising and a recession on the horizon following COVID-19, people will be relying even more heavily on anticipated inheritance.

Having worked in this area of law for over 25 years, Martin is determined to reduce the number of people dying without wills and therefore reducing the distress of grieving families. , was launched last month. FRisk is an innovative software program, which is cost and time efficient, to educate people as to the impact of their death without an effective will in place and offer immediate solutions.

There’s just so much about the impact of our own death that we don’t consider, such as what will happen to our children, pets, digital assets, etc, the list goes on. We, as the public, make assumptions that wills are just about money, but as well as providing much-needed financial support for our loved ones at a difficult time, wills protect the interests of everything and everyone we hold dear when we are no longer there to look after them.

Let’s prevent these disputes before they occur by getting wills in place and talking about them with our loved ones. People don’t need to suffer any more than they already do at a time of loss: grief is enough.

To find out more about FRisk, please visit or contact us at

IDR Law is an approachable, boutique firm and the only one in the country dealing solely with inheritance dispute resolution. Whether you’re a law firm, or an individual who feels they would benefit from our expertise, get in touch here, email us at or call on 01423 637050.


  1. Sanlam UK Limited report – “spreading the love” conducted by Atomik Research, 20.12.18
  2. Direct Line Life Insurance survey of over 2,000 adults in July 2018


< Return to Blog