Have you made a Will? Have you decided who (or not!) to leave your estate to?

The subject of making a Will still remains something of a taboo subject.

However, not being legally prepared may lead to your Will being contested - and that's where an experienced contentious probate team can be asked to step in.

Second families, increased life expectancy and individuals having more valuable assets in recent times are among the reasons for an added demand on the contentious probate (contested Wills) service.

My colleagues from the contentious probate team have seen a rise in the number of cases over the past year or so, and have a growing caseload of clients either who have been excluded from a family member's Will, looking to reclaim what they believe they are entitled to, or are defending a challenge to a Will brought by another family member.

We are living in a social climate where people are living longer, with different family structures and more people own their own home. Sadly, it appears divorce and family feuding is on the up.

My colleagues and I are seeing more and more clients from the areas of Peterborough, Stamford, Nottingham and London - guiding them through the procedure of contesting a Will they believe they have wrongly been 'left out of'.

The fact that we are seeing more and more high profile cases being highlighted in the national news has led to a growing number of people becoming aware that they have the power to contest a Will they feel has been made by a family member either under undue pressure, who lacked the necessary capacity to make a Will, made fraudulently, or because they did not receive what a Court would say they were entitled to receive.

Despite being a touchy subject, discussing Wills and who will deal with your estate can help families avoid possible complications when loved-ones die.

While there is sometimes an expectation among loved ones and family members that they will be 'left something in your Will' - there are instances where the Will-maker may want to exclude a particular relative.

I would urge everyone, regardless of age or status, to make a Will and get their affairs in order so that when the time comes, those loved ones left behind are not faced with legal challenges and/or additional personal heartache.