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By Nick Hood
Inheritance disputes have fascinated public opinion from the moment that the farcical Jarndyce v Jarndyce case flowed from the pen of Charles Dickens onto the pages of Bleak House. This was believed to be based on a real life case which had been running then for 55 years, having commenced in 1798. It was only abandoned in 1915 when the funds in the disputed estate were exhausted by legal costs.
Judging by a minor Twitterstorm of vitriolic criticism unleashed recently by some very bland comments about a breakfast seminar focused on certain recurrent issues dealt with by the Court of Protection, the accretion of personal wealth by a rapidly ageing UK population is creating great anxiety for those who feel they have a claim on it. These concerns seem to be generating as much if not more heat and certainly less light than Dickens’ fictional courtroom protagonists.
Statistics suggest that demographic and financial trends are driving up activity in the Court of Protection. The number of property and affairs applications to the Court in 2012 was 26% higher than in 2009 and, critically, the number of deputies appointed by the Court to supervise the estates of the vulnerable also rose by 26% over the same brief period.
The causes are obvious. A substantial number of these cases arise from the financial affairs of the elderly. The Office for National Statistics is predicting that the UK population aged over 65 will increase from 10.8m in 2012 to 13.8m in just 10 years’ time, a rise of 28%. But even more strikingly, those over 75 will rise by 41% by 2024 an
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Nick Hood is a Director of the legal costs firm, Kain Knight. He is a
Chartered Accountant and also an insolvency practitioner with the
Begbies Traynor Group, as well as a business risk analyst for corporate
health monitoring experts, Company Watch.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: +44 (0)7967 658 296
0330 161 1234