Whether you are a beneficiary or someone who believes that a will is invalid, there are many things you need to consider before taking a legal action in the UK against it. These include the cost and length of the process. If you are considering taking a claim against a will, it is important to get professional advice. A solicitor who specialises in will contests can help you identify issues and keep the costs low.
Contesting a will in the Uk can be complicated and may be expensive. There has to be clear evidence that a deceased’s wishes may be disputed in the will that they have left. There are many reasons that you can contest a will, including:
l – Lack of knowledge and approval
2 – Lack of due execution
3 – Lack of testamentary capacity
4 – Forgery or fraud
5 – Undue influence
Legal costs can vary a lot depending on how complicated the case is and the outcome. Some will disputes are settled through negotiation, while others require court action. In many cases, it will be possible to avoid court action and settle the dispute for a fraction of the cost of litigation. However, if a dispute does end up going to court, it will be expensive and take a lot of time. A solicitor will carefully assess the law and evidence in order to determine a winning case.
A solicitor will also consider how complicated the case is. More complex cases will take longer to research, which will increase the cost of the solicitor’s services. A solicitor will also consider the type of grounds you want to challenge a will on. The stronger the grounds, the quicker the process will take. This will also mean that fewer hours will be spent by the solicitor.
If you are contesting a will, you may be able to reduce the cost of the solicitor’s services by preparing your own evidence. You should gather evidence about the size of the estate, the nature of the estate, and any possible financial capabilities. You may also have access to any documents that can be used as evidence. You should also ensure that you have proper insurance coverage for your case. You can also consider taking out legal expenses insurance, which can help cover the cost of bringing a claim against a will if you lose.
Wills can be challenged on several different grounds in England and Scotland. If a will was prepared without a valid testamentary capacity, it is considered an invalid will. A valid testamentary capacity is one in which the will-maker was of sound mind at the time of making the will. In other cases, a will may have been prepared in an unfair or unintended way. This could include forgery or undue influence.
Some solicitors will only handle a will challenge case on a private fee basis, while others will require upfront fees. If the solicitor’s upfront fee is not paid, the solicitor will stop working on the case. You will then be expected to pay for the remaining fees. Often, these fees can be deducted from the estate of the deceased. Alternatively, the court may rule that the deceased’s conduct was responsible for the costs, which may be met by the judge.
So How much does it cost to contest a will? Well, the amount it will cost to contest a will in the UK depends on many factors. If, for example, following an initial letter, the opponent accepts that the will is invalid, the legal costs will range from £600 to £1,800 plus VAT. If an initial letter does not settle the dispute, mediation is the next step. The cost of progressing to this mediation stage costs £8,000 to £12,000 plus VAT.
If mediation does not provide a successful outcome, this will lead to Court proceedings. At this stage contesting a will in the UK will be very costly. Costs to instigate the claim will start at £17,000 to £22,000 plus VAT. If the dispute goes to trial, this can cost in excess of £100,000.
Approximately 50% of cases in the UK settle before proceedings are issued and only around two percent of cases proceed to a final trial.
When contesting a will, you should discuss the issues with your solicitor and prepare evidence to support your claims. The solicitor will be able to advise you on the complexity of the case and what you should do next. You should also ask your solicitor about a conditional fee agreement, or no win no fee agreement. If you have a conditional fee agreement, you can expect to pay the fees yourself, rather than having them deducted from the estate of the deceased.