Will dispute solicitor – how to choose
Whether you wish to challenge a will, or you find yourself on the receiving end of a will dispute, you will almost certainly need expert legal advice. At a time when you will already be vulnerable following the death of a loved one, you need to choose a will dispute solicitor. Let’s be honest, it’s probably the last thing you want to do. On the other hand, choosing the right will dispute solicitor will help the process run far more smoothly.
Choose a will dispute solicitor who knows what they are doing
Any solicitor regulated by the Law Society will have a certain level of professional qualification and ability, but not all are experts in will disputes. This is a complex area of law. Many of the rules that apply date back to the nineteenth century. Although will disputes are on the rise, the majority do eventually resolve through some form of settlement, so there aren’t many decisions from the courts to help in the interpretation of the rules. You might be breaking new ground with your dispute. You need a solicitor with the right expertise in will disputes, who can handle it.
Ask about the realistic prospects of success
As well as experience, you need to choose a solicitor who is realistic about your case and your prospects of success. Whether you are challenging the validity of a will or asking for maintenance under the Inheritance Act 1975, these claims can be difficult to win for several reasons. On balance, it is better to work with a solicitor who will be realistic about your prospects of success from the outset. Unless every solicitor you speak to assures you that you have a cast iron case, you would be better to choose the solicitor who is realistic about your chances of winning, rather than one who is wildly optimistic.
Find a contentious probate expert you feel comfortable with
Once you have established the credentials of a few will dispute solicitors, one of the questions to ask yourself is “Which one do you feel most comfortable with?”. Any legal process can be stressful and emotional. Our experience is that a will dispute can be even more so. Any will dispute involves intensely personal family issues, and emotions usually run high. You need to be working with a solicitor you are happy to talk to and to take advice from.
Consider the question of legal costs
Legal fees are expensive. They reflect the expertise of the solicitor and the professionalism they will apply to your case. It may feel like a lot of money – but for the expertise and the ability to help you resolve your case, it’s a worthwhile investment. Fortunately, many solicitors, Will Claim included, can handle will disputes on a ‘no win no fee’ basis. This means pretty much what it says – you will only have to pay your solicitors legal costs if you win your case. There will always be other costs to pay – expenses involved in pulling the case together – but in comparison, these will be small.
Look for a solicitor who champions Alternative Dispute Resolution
The traditional view of a legal dispute involving two sides locked in a court room battle doesn’t really reflect the reality of what happens today. Although some cases are impossible to resolve with out the intervention of a court, far more disputes are resolved using some form of Alternative Dispute Resolution – mediation for example. There are many advantages to using mediation to resolve a will dispute. It reduces the costs (which, even on a no win no fee arrangement is an advantage), and usually means quicker resolution of the case. Mediation also allows you to resolve your dispute with more flexibility than a decision imposed by a judge. You can read more about the advantages of mediation in our blog.
Any google search will bring up a number of entries for contentious probate specialists and will dispute experts. Our advice is to get in touch with a few solicitors with experience in this field of law. You should find out about practical issues such as their charges and whether they can handle your case on a no win no fee basis. At the same time, think about how they respond to you – do you feel they have the expertise to handle your case? Are they sympathetic – and, perhaps more importantly – realistic?
The time you spend choosing the right will dispute solicitor will be time well spent. Will Claims is a specialist will dispute practice with extensive experience handling these sensitive legal issues. We offer no win no fee arrangements in nearly every case and will always discuss your case and explain the process with you, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of your case. This means you can make an informed decision whether to pursue your case or not. If you’d like to talk to us about your claim, get in touch!