What is the real cost of a Will Dispute? Part 1

8 October, 2012
by: Cripps Pemberton Greenish

Before making the decision to contest a Will, or indeed bring any other type of Will claim, it is vital to understand the likely cost of doing so and, just as importantly, how these costs are to be funded.

Clients involved in a Will dispute or inheritance claim are often very vulnerable and it is important to tackle their concerns about costs and funding right at the outset.

There is a great deal of inaccurate information published about the level of legal costs and explaining this can take away much of the worry felt by clients.

The best way of looking at legal costs for Will disputes is to consider them in stages. This is because the vast majority of cases never make it to trial.

In this Blog, I am going to consider the likely costs of the first stage. In any Will claim, the first stage is the initial investigation. This is where the solicitor gathers initial evidence to determine the merits of, for example, challenging a Will.

In many cases, undertaking initial investigations and providing advice can cost less than £1,000 plus VAT and this work can be done on a fixed fee basis.

In some cases, before initial advice can be provided as to the merits of a Will dispute, expert evidence may be necessary. For example, if you are challenging a Will on the ground that the deceased lacked testamentary capacity, you may need to obtain a report from an expert in old age psychiatry. In these cases, the costs of this initial stage will be more substantial.

The important point to understand is that once the initial investigation has been undertaken, advice can be provided. For example, the advice may be that there is not a strong basis to dispute a Will, in which case the client may decide not to take the matter any further.

Alternatively, initial investigations may reveal a good Will claim in which advice will be given to the client as to the cost of advancing their Will dispute claim, to include likely further costs and how these can be funded.

I will consider these in my next Blog.

Please see our website for more information