A Point by Point Guide to Contesting or Disputing a Will
Will claim Solicitors, specialist no win no fee will dispute and will contest Solicitors, provide a point by point guide to contesting or disputing a will
Key points in disputing or contesting a will
We have addressed basic principles in our previous blog:
We intend to distil them even further below to help casual reader embroiled in a will dispute or will contest claim identify useful elements which could guide their approach.
What are the key points in a will dispute or will contest claim?
• Do you have an interest in the outcome of the dispute? It sounds obvious, but some might mistakenly believe they have a moral right for example. In law, one can only pursue a claim against the legal validity of a Will if there is an interest following the successful outcome – for example, where there is no valid previous Will, you inherit under the rules of intestacy or if there is a previous valid Will, you inherit under that.
• It is worthwhile pursuing the claim – the estate and/or what you might inherit after a successful outcome should be large enough to make the whole project worthwhile, particularly where there are legal costs to pay.
• Legal costs – there is no such thing as a “free hit” so yes, even if you instruct a company like ours under a no win no fee arrangement to contest or dispute the Will your costs are likely to come from the estate. The unsuccessful Defendant can be ordered to pay your costs but only at the end of a rare, risky and costly trial and even then there could be substantial elements of your own costs which are irrecoverable making the whole exercise rather pointless.
• Compromise and seek to resolve your claim before trial where you can.
• Compromise should take into account your assessment of risk and the costs and hassle of pursuing your Will dispute and/or Will contest claim to a trial. In other words risk verses reward. This area of law is particularly risky and cost heavy and even a trial might not be the end of matters. There could be an appeal; the dispute could easily extend into the actual administration of the estate as well which could follow your “success” at trial. Compromise buys off the risk and leaves you in control. At a trial, you are handing control and the purse strings to a Judge. He/she might not like you.
• Properly instructing your lawyers in a Will dispute or Will contest claim – it sounds obvious but if you withhold (or embellish) key information from your lawyers you could weaken your Will dispute or Will contest claim or worse, lose it entirely and end up with an order for costs against you. Here are some real examples of either wholly incorrect, withheld or certainly embellished information we have been given over the years:
- Under a claim for financial provision, the issue of a £200,000 cheque to our client shortly before the death of the testator (not previously disclosed to us)
- Client claiming to be disabled who was actually working cash in hand
- Client claiming to be substantially disabled and wheelchair bound videoed walking several miles along a beach
- Under a claim against the legal validity of a Will client claimed testator had “no capacity” when disputed Will was made – in fact, at best the testator had “mild capacity” issues only
- Under a claim for financial provision, client claimed to have no assets but owned a property abroad (concession made during a mediation!)
- Under a claim against the legal validity of a Will where testator disinherited client because she had instigated a criminal investigation against a sibling (denied by our client), said client instigated a new criminal investigation just before the start of a trial which was subsequently lost!
If you consider any of these facts and matters are of interest, are likely to apply to you, or you would like to ask us for more information about our no win no fee arrangement, or you simply want us to assess your claim, then please do not hesitate to contact us for a confidential no strings chat and/or visit us at www.willclaim.com.
We provide details about our no win no fee arrangements at https://www.willclaim.com/no-win-no-fee/.