Will Disputes Explained – What is meant by “issuing proceedings”?
Based on my experience in advising clients in connection with Will disputes and other trust and estate dispute claims, a point that can often cause confusion is the concept of “issuing proceedings”. Specifically, what does this mean and what are the consequences?
Issuing proceedings refers to the process of getting a claim, for example a claim challenging a Will, into the Court system.
In order to achieve this, papers (referred to as pleadings) need to be prepared, signed and sent to the Court with the fee. The Court will then process these by entering them onto their system and allocating the claim a case number. The pleadings will be dated and stamped by the Court. At this point the claim has been issued.
Once a Will dispute or other trust and estate claim has been issued by the Court this must then be served upon the other parties to the dispute. Serving the issued claim will start in motion a timetable that will ultimately bring the claim to trial. Serving issued proceedings also normally constitutes the point from which liability can arise for the payment of another party’s legal costs.
For these reasons, Court proceedings are, therefore, normally issued once attempts to reach an agreement have proved unsuccessful.