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preaction disclosure of documents is a vital part of a will dispute

HOW TO CONTEST A WILL – WORKING UNDER A NO WIN NO FEE ARRANGEMENT

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DISPUTING A WILL – WORKING UNDER A NO WIN NO FEE ARRANGEMENT, WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

We have already described that we are prepared to work under a no win no fee arrangement to dispute or claim against the legal validity of a Will (but also in relation to claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 – see https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1975/63).

Our page (which also contains a helpful video) sets this out in detail at https://www.willclaim.com/no-win-no-fee/.

In fact and to be clear, we carry out almost the entirety of our work in this field (in relation to will contest and will dispute claims) under no win no fee arrangements.

But what is a no win no fee arrangement and how does it work in relation to Will dispute and Will contest claims? It is simply an agreement to carry out this legal work on the basis that we will not charge a penny unless we win the case. A “win” then triggers the right to charge our fees.

A “win” is not just an outright win following a trial where the losing Defendant is ordered to pay our fees, it also arises if there has been an agreement before the trial (and usually in fact before there are any court proceedings at all!) to compromise the claim in some way.

DISPUTING A WILL – WHO THEN PAYS ONCE YOU WIN?

If the case is won at trial then the loser will be ordered to pay the winner’s costs. However, given at least 99% of the claims we will deal with under a no win no fee arrangement do not go to a trial but are resolved by us well before, then put simply the terms of the settlement agreement determine who pays. As we cannot resolve (or “settle”) a case without the consent of our client, then he or she must agree to this question as well. We cannot simply decide this off our own back.

What actually happens is that in 99% of cases there is no trial as mentioned. Instead an agreement or settlement is reached and our costs are either paid directly as part of that agreement or (where it has been agreed that a lump sum of say £100,000 is paid) out of the settlement figure.

It is never the case that the amount we will accept for our costs exceeds the settlement sum since our client would never agree to this and we would never allow it to happen. If necessary our costs can be compromised to facilitate an appropriate agreement.

DISPUTING A WILL – WHAT HAPPENS IF THE CASE IS “LOST”?

We have already explained that over 99% of our cases do not go to trial and that in fact we do not issue court proceedings at all for the vast bulk of them. Whilst we will often take on a
will contest or will dispute claim when we don’t truly know we will be able to win it, we are usually able to determine its viability within a very short space of time. For instance, where a claim is being made that the deceased didn’t have legal testamentary capacity in a will dispute claim or will contest claim, the question is usually resolved very quickly by the deceased’s medical records. If there is no record of an issue with capacity in the deceased’s medical records at the time the Will was made, then the claim is quite simply dropped. There will be nothing to pay at that point as we won’t have “won” it.

Whilst it is possible to obtain ATE (“after the event”) insurance to protect against the risk of losing at a trial (whereby the loser pays the winners costs), it is not advisable to consider that a trial on a given day before a Judge who will otherwise have never met you before and who could be swayed by matters that are not within your control (such as the Defendants witnesses), is going to offer you the best solution. It will not offer you the best solution except in the most exceptional of circumstances and our advice and professional care will almost certainly be guiding you towards a better solution, which is usually a settlement agreement in some form.

If you consider that any of these facts and matters 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.

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