How much does it cost to contest a Will in the UK? That is the question that we are looking to answer in this feature.
Contesting a will isn’t an easy decision to come to.
The death of a loved one is an incredibly difficult time. Dealing with the estate can be extremely stressful for all involved.
But there are circumstances where you might wish to contest a Will, as long as you have the grounds to do so.
It’s wise to seek legal advice if you’re considering doing so. A legal professional will be able to advise you as to whether you have a legitimate case to bring a claim.
If probate has been issued already, then you can still make a claim. BUT it might be more difficult to do so, particularly if the executors of the will have started to distribute the estate.
The first step is to ascertain whether the will is valid and whether it has been completed correctly…
But The Real Question Is – How Much Does It Cost To Contest A Will In The UK?
We know that’s not the most definitive of answers. But there’s no set sum that you’ll need to set aside because there’s SO MANY factors to consider.
If assets have already been distributed, the situation becomes much more difficult to resolve. While if you’re attempting to gather evidence that a Will hasn’t been duly executed, the timescale involved could be prolonged.
And the reality is that if the case stretches on for months, and even years, then the legal costs are likely to mount up.
But Let’s Start At The Beginning…
If the opponent accepts that a will is invalid quickly, essentially after an initial letter, then your legal costs are likely to be somewhere between £500 and £1,500 (plus VAT).
However, there is a good chance that your probate dispute won’t be settled after the first letter. So you’ll progress to the next stage – mediation.
The cost of moving onto mediation can increase significantly, with legal costs rising to somewhere between £7,500 and £10,000.
If the case still isn’t settled after mediation or prolonged conversation and negotiations, then it will proceed to a court hearing. If this is the case, then costs can rise to £20,000 or more depending on how hard each party to the contested probatre disputes wants to fight their corner.
And if a case then goes to trial, the total cost could be more than £100,000.
It’s worth noting that around half of all cases are settled before proceedings are issued. Just 2% of cases ever reach the final trial stage.
So, the likelihood is that if you’ve got a legitimate case and you’ve decided to contest a will. You’re probably never going to get to the trial stage – partially due to the emotions involved, and largely due to the high costs associated with a trial.
This highlights the importance of identifying any potential issues from the outset. That way anything problematic can be resolved, or at least an attempt can be made to resolve the issue before the case progresses to that stage.
That’s why the advice of a qualified legal professional is vital from the outset. Particularly due to the complexity of inheritance claims.
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