NO WIN NO FEE and your will claim
In any probate claim or will claim where a party is considering contesting a will, how it will be funded is an extremely difficult issue, as legal costs are usually beyond most households’ budgets. It is sometimes possible to obtain funding to contest a will or to bring a will or probate claim via one of your existing insurance policies (typically your home insurance or perhaps an insurance policy product associated with your bank account). Unfortunately, this is not usually available or the policy won’t cover this type of claim. Moreover government assistance or Community Legal Service funding (formerly Legal Aid) is rarely available as an alternative.
A no win no fee arrangement offers an acceptable and commonplace alternative to fund the will claim. It does what it says on the tin – a charge can only be raised if the will contest or will claim is successful. We are able to offer this in almost 100% of our cases.
Invariably most if not all of the costs can be recovered from the opposing party or the estate. We will usually compromise in relation to our fees if that is required to secure an acceptable agreement.
Risk and insurance protection
- The “risk” in relation to a will contest, will dispute or probate claim is the same as in every contested civil claim (e.g a typical civil claim is a claim for damages) – in general if you lose such a claim, you could be liable to pay the winning sides’ costs.
- Just like the other civil claims, you can protect against this risk by means of insurance, either your own (as mentioned above – typically legal expenses insurance from your household policy) or “ATE” (“After the Event”) insurance. If you don’t have your own insurance, ATE insurance can work well as an alternative. The premium is only payable once costs or other monies are recovered and if you don’t win there is nothing to pay at all! These policies are very common in civil claims (for damages). They wouldn’t work if there was any exposure to paying the premium, if for instance the claim was unsuccessful.
- Having mentioned all the above, we can advise that most cases settle (in other words a compromise agreement is usually reached) before court proceedings are issued and served further that at this stage (ie before court proceedings are issued and served), there is usually no risk of having to pay the other sides costs if you lose. Put simply, as the court are not involved, there can be no order in relation to costs against one side or the other. It follows that for most cases, ATE or other insurance is unnecessary unless it becomes plain that you or the other side must issue court proceedings to resolve the claim.
- We will normally be able decide and tell you whether a claim has “legs” well before court proceedings are issued.
- Where then you are contesting a Will or bringing a Will claim, a “loss” will usually mean that the claim will stop – you are unlikely to have issued court proceedings and you will owe us nothing. We will simply tell you that there is insufficient evidence to sustain your claim and given the terms of the no win no fee arrangement, we cannot then be paid.
I received an extremely professional service from Inspire Law and Malcolm Tuvey steered me through the process of contesting a will in a transparent and professional manner. He managed to win the case even though the process was not easy. He presented points of law that were clearly relevant and steered the case through to a successful conclusion. A professional service was provided throughout, I am extremely grateful for the outcome, and the advice provided at every phase of the process.Ms L – May 2020