Advice For You

Inheritance & Will Disputes – Costs

What are the likely costs to bring a claim and how can I pay for the solicitor’s services?

A Will is often seen as a person’s final wishes but these final wishes are often a cause for dispute and may be contested. Wills can be contested for several reasons, such as lack of capacity, undue influence and fraud. Where no Will exists, then the Intestacy rules apply which results in the Deceased's estate passing under the specific rules as to who is to inherit.

Where the Will or the Intestacy Rules fail to make provision for a certain individual, a claim may be brought under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 for provision from the estate. In these complex situations, it is best to seek specialist legal advice from a Contentious Probate Solicitor on the options available to you.

The details of each claim are usually highly individual, not only based on the background facts and reason for contesting the Will but also based on the nature of the estate, personal circumstances of those claiming, family dynamics and the number of parties involved.

It is because of the uniqueness of each claim it is not possible to provide a single fixed cost for contesting a Will or bringing an Inheritance Act claim. The usual steps that we would take in dealing with your claim and the costs in relation to this are:

Step 1 - Initial Free Telephone Appointment

Once we receive your enquiry, we will ask that you provide us with some basic initial information in relation to your case to determine if we assist in your situation.

If we are able to proceed, we would then offer you an initial free 20 minutes telephone appointment where we will be able to take further details, assess whether we can assist and provide you with details of our costs.

Step 2 – Further information gathering and Initial Advice

Following our initial free telephone appointment, it is likely that further investigation and detailed information gathering is required before we are able to provide you with a full advice.

At this stage, if we are able to proceed with your instruction, we will need to send to you our Firm’s Engagement letter for you to instruct us to act on your behalf. We will provide within our Engagement letter our estimate of costs for us to carry out the initial steps in your claim which will be dependant on the circumstances of each individual claim.

For Inheritance & Wills Dispute claims, the initial costs are typically estimated to be between 3-4 hours of the Fee Earner’s time but is case specific. This is not a fixed fee and would depend on the circumstances of your claim.

It is our firm policy is that we will require a payment on account of £800 upon our initial instruction.

Our initial costs will cover specific steps relevant to your claim. An example of the steps that may be required, depending on the circumstances of your case would be:

  • Obtain a copy of the Will (if there is one).
  • Obtain a copy of the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration (again if one has been obtained).
  • Conduct the necessary enquiries regarding the assets that fall into the Deceased’s estate, which may include a Land Registry search.
  • Where a Grant has not yet been obtained and in the appropriate circumstances, we will enter a Caveat with the Probate Registry to stop a Grant being obtained and to prevent the estate being distributed.
  • It may also be necessary to send a Larke v Nugus letter to the Solicitors who prepared the Deceased’s will to ask various questions regarding the circumstances around the preparation and execution of the Will.

We will then be able to provide you with our initial advice on the strength of your claim, the options available to you and advice on the next steps.

Alternative methods of funding:

In certain cases, we may be able to offer alternative ways of funding your claim including a Conditional Fee Agreement (No Win, No Fee) or a Deferred Funding option. Our funding options will be discussed with you during our initial telephone appointment.

If we can offer a No-Win-No-Fee option, on the successful conclusion of your case we will require payment. A success fee will also be payable upon conclusion of the case. If you are unsuccessful you will not incur our fees but may be liable to pay some or all of the other side’s legal costs.

We will always be clear with you regarding your case and would be clear with you if we did not believe your case would have prospects of success. All cases are handled as efficiently as possible in an attempt to obtain the fastest resolution and prevent unnecessary costs.

Talk to us about your Inheritance problem

Our specialist Contentious Probate Solicitors in our Inheritance and Will Disputes Department are available to have a free initial, no-obligation conversation. Contact us about your case on 0161 785 3500.