What are the expected costs of contesting a will?
When taking legal action to contest a will, there are several costs that the claimant should be aware of before pursuing their case. Generally speaking, claimants will need to pay for the following.
- Grounds & Time
The grounds for contesting a will and the time it takes to conclude your case go hand-in-hand. More complex grounds for contest will take your solicitor more time to research, prove and resolve, increasing their fee for taking on your case.
Costs can be reduced for complex cases with the move evidence you are able to find or provide to support your claim.
- Court Fees
Court fees can be one of the most expensive costs for all parties involved, and this cost will only increase the longer your case takes in court. It is possible to settle many will disputes out of court and avoid paying any court fees altogether. This can be done through mediation or negotiation.
- Case Complexity
It can be incredibly difficult to predict the complexity of your case before you present it to your opponent. If complications arise they can take your solicitor more time and resources to build your case, which can increase the cost of their services. This is the primary reason that those considering contesting a will are highly encouraged to work out the value of contesting a will against potential complications.
- Gaining Relevant Documentation
It is important to obtain documents relevant to the claim. For example, this will include the Will itself and sometimes a copy of the file of the Solicitor who met with and prepared the Will for the deceased. If a Grant of Representation has already been issued in the estate, then a copy of the Will can be obtained online for a cost of £1.50. If a copy of the Will file is required, then there may be reasonable copy charges, charged by the Solicitor’s practice in question.
- Lodging a Caveat
If you are in a position where you are contesting before probate, you can also request that your solicitor lodges a caveat. This typically costs around £3.
Although these are the most common expected costs of contesting a will, the amount that you will have to pay will hinge largely on the format of your case and the circumstances surrounding it.
If a case progresses to court, the cost can rise dramatically. Those cases that reach a final tral can be expected to cost between £15,000 and £100,000.
Court proceedings are the most expensive stage of any will contest and therefore it is important that you hire a specialist solicitor who can settle your case before it progresses to this stage.
Payment options for contesting a will
There are a variety of payment options available to you to help you manage the cost of contesting a will. These are the most common payment options available, although your payment options will differ depending on your chosen solicitor and law firm.
To make costs more manageable, many solicitors also offer an interim billing payment option. You will be issued with monthly or bi-monthly invoices for their time and services.
In some instances, solicitors may also provide a quote of a fixed fee for all of their legal services. This means that if proceedings take longer than agreed, you will not pay any more than the agreed upon fixed fee.
Contesting a Will with Expert Solicitors from Whitehead Monckton
If you are considering contesting a will and are looking for expert legal advice to guide you through the process, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team of specialist will and estate dispute lawyers. Our solicitors offer a ‘complete service’, trained in Probate and Trust dispute work and work closely with our other in-house specialist to ensure that you are always receiving expert advice suited to your situation.
While it is difficult to offer comprehensive cost projections from the outset, our solicitors can work with you to determine how much your case could cost, so you can make an informed decision.