How Much Does it Cost to Contest a Will?
It really does depend on how long it takes to resolve your dispute and whether you end up in Court. The quicker you resolve your Will dispute will mean you spend less in legal costs.
If you do need to contest a Will, you do have several options to think about when trying to decide how you will find the legal costs you need. They are:
- Legal expenses insurance usually added with a car or house insurance
- Legal representation by a trade union or other membership organisation
- A third party funding arrangement
- Legal Aid
You may find though that none of these options are available to you for contesting a Will. So what are your options?
At Simpson Millar we offer a range of options to fund your legal costs and we may be able to deal with your case on a No Win, No Fee basis – ask us for details.
For a free initial case assessment, contact our Contentious Probate Solicitors.
No Win, No Fee Agreement
You may have heard of a No Win, No Fee agreement. This type of funding arrangement is actually called a Conditional Fee Agreement or CFA. If you’re contesting a Will, a No Win, No Fee agreement could be suitable but your Solicitor will need to know more about your particular situation before they can decide. They would need to be sure that:
- This agreement suits your needs and is in your best interests and
- You have a good chance of your claim being successful
Benefits of No Win, No Fee
There are some real benefits to making your claim on a No Win, No Fee basis. Some of these are:
- You won’t need to pay any legal fees upfront
- If your claim isn’t successful you don’t have to pay your Solicitor for the time they spent working on your case, but you will have to pay for any additional costs such as Court Fees
- If you win your claim, you can get some of your legal costs paid for by the other side, but you may not get all of them paid. You’ll have to pay the rest yourself.
- It may be the only way you can afford to contest the Will.
Costs Associated with No Win, No Fee
There are some other costs associated with contesting a Will on a No Win, No Fee basis. These are:
- Base Costs – These are calculated on an hourly rate fee and will depend on how long your Contentious Probate Solicitor spends on your case. You can get these fees back from the other side if you win, but you will need to cover any shortfall in what you owe and what you’re awarded by the Court. If you lose your claim, you won’t pay any base costs to your Contentious Probate Solicitor.
- Disbursements – This is a word used by Lawyers to explain all the additional costs you’ll need to pay to make your claim. Disbursements include things like Court Fees and instructing any experts you need to help prove your claim against the Will. You may get some of these costs back if you win your case, but you will need to pay any shortfall. You’ll still need to pay these costs if you lose your claim.
- Success Fee – When you sign up to a No Win, No Fee Agreement, you agree to pay your Solicitor a success fee if you successfully contest a Will. This success fee is because your Solicitor had risked not being paid at all for their work if they lose your claim. Any success fee can’t be more that 100% of the base costs. Any success fee is paid by you and you can’t claim any of it back from the other side.
- Adverse Costs – If you go to Court and lose your claim, you’ll have to pay some of the legal costs of the other side. The Court will decide how much you’ll have to pay and you probably won’t pay all their legal costs.
You can see that although there are some advantages to a No Win, No Fee agreement, the biggest disadvantage is that if your claim is successful, you’ll probably pay more than you would with other payment options because of having to pay a success fee which you can’t get back from the other side. But the biggest benefit of a No Win, No Fee agreement when contesting a Will is that you have the opportunity to bring a case you wouldn’t be able to otherwise.
If you lose your claim against the Will, a No Win, No Fee agreement will stop you having to pay your Solicitor’s costs, but you’ll probably still have to pay some of the other side’s legal costs. You can buy an insurance policy to protect you from paying these costs, but these policies are often very expensive.
You can choose to pay the insurance premium at the end of the claim, but you can’t get this cost back from the other side if you win so you will be responsible for paying the whole cost of this insurance policy.
Other Payment Options
We want to work with all our clients to offer them a flexible solution to funding a claim to challenge a Will.
One of our specialist Contentious Probate Solicitors will talk through all your funding options with you in detail so you can be clear exactly what you’ll pay. We can even discuss the option to work through your claim in ‘stages’. You could pay an amount to get to one part of the process and then you can make an informed decision on whether you want to continue to the next stage of the process, depending on how much it will cost.
If you think you have a valid claim to challenge a Will, call us for a discussion about your options to fund your claim.
For free initial case assessment call our Contentious Probate Solicitors
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Simpson Millar Solicitors are a national law firm with over 500 staff and offices in Billingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Catterick, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, London and Manchester.