What is the cost of a Will Dispute and how long will it take?

The cost of a Will dispute, whether challenging a Will or making an Inheritance Claim, can seem daunting. Below, we go through the stages of a typical Will dispute from first meeting to trial explaining what is involved and what it is likely to cost. We also explain how likely it is your case will proceed that far – as you will see, whether bringing or defending a Will dispute, most cases do not require Court proceedings and very few reach trial.

Each Will dispute is different and how long it takes and what it costs will depend on the facts of your case. The below is therefore only intended as a guide.

What is involved?

Whether you bring or face a Will Dispute claim, at the outset you need advice on your legal position. This advice should provide an initial review of the merits of your position and what your options are, along with an estimate of future costs.

 

How much will this stage cost me?

£1,000 to £4,000 plus VAT

 

On average, how likely is it my case will get this far?

100% of cases will proceed to this stage.

What is involved?

Provided your claim or defence has sufficient merit to justify further action, the next stage is to build your case by gathering evidence. We can then provide you with updated advice on the merits of your case  and set out your claim or defence to your opponent with the purpose of persuading them to withdraw or settle on terms that reflect the merits of your position.

 

How much will this stage cost me?

£5,000 to £15,000 plus VAT.

 

On average, how likely is it my case will get this far?

80% of cases will, based on initial investigations, warrant further investigation and proceed to this stage.

What is involved?

During the pre action stage parties must consider settlement. This may be by making written offers or meeting with the other side. Settlement meetings are commonly undertaken as mediations, where a trained mediator will assist the parties to find a compromise.

 

How much will this stage cost me?

£5,000 to £10,000 plus VAT.

 

On average, how likely is it my case will get this far?

60% to 70% of cases will be resolved by the end of this phase either by settlement, whether through correspondence or after a mediation, or by one party withdrawing.

What is involved?

If the claim is not withdrawn and it is not capable of settlement, the next stage is to ask the Court to decide the outcome. The process is started by sending to the Court formal documents, known as pleadings, explaining the case.

 

The other parties will then submit their own pleadings setting out their response to the claim.

 

How much will this stage cost me?

£4,000 to £7,000 plus VAT.

 

On average, how likely is it my case will get this far?

Only around 30% to 40% of cases will proceed to the issuing of a claim. The majority of case are resolved by then by agreement.

What is involved?

Once the claim has been issued, the Court will timetable directions to advance the case to trial. Standard directions include exchanging relevant documents, witness evidence and any expert reports. By the end of the directions timetable, all the evidence that a Judge will need to decide the case at trial should be available.

 

How much will this stage cost me?

£20,000 to £40,000 plus VAT

 

On average, how likely is it my case will get this far?

Of all the claims that are issued, most will be resolved by settlement during or after  the directions timetable.

What is involved?

Cases which cannot be resolved by agreement are decided by a Judge following a Court hearing. During the trial each party will have an opportunity to present their case and call witness evidence. Once the verdict has been delivered, the Judge will also decide which party or parties will pay the costs of the legal proceedings.

 

How much will this stage cost me?

£20,000 to £40,000 plus VAT

 

On average, how likely is it my case will get this far?

Less than 5% of cases reach trial. Most are settled before this stage.