There is an increase in disputes over peoples’ estates in the UK, because the deceased either did not have a will at all or failed to keep an existing will up to date with changed circumstances.

Evidence of this can be seen in the huge increase in court battles, and between 2008 and 2013 there was a staggering 700 per cent increase in legal disputes over contested estates and Wills in the High Court.

Much recent research about Wills has indicated that at least half the population has not made a will at all, and this attitude needs to change if more families are not to be ripped apart.

The reasons for the increase are complex with many contributory factors. One that immediately springs to mind is that family structures are more complicated than they used to be.

Remarriage, having step-children, co-habiting all impact on how your estate will be distributed, and they need to be taken into consideration when making a will or keeping it under review.

The heartache, which can be caused by someone dying without a Will or with a will that does not take into account changed circumstances when their home life is not straightforward, can cause great anxiety to those left behind.

We cannot emphasise enough how important it is to have an up to date will and just hope people will sit up and take notice before it’s too late.