How much does it cost to contest a will?

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There is no blanket cost that can be given in relation to contesting a will, as there are so many variables involved and every situation is unique.

However, it’s important to discuss costs with your solicitor before you start the process, to ensure that you’re aware of the potential costs and how they will be paid for.

The cost of contesting a will is likely to depend on a number of factors, including:

  • The complexity of the situation
  • The number of parties involved
  • The legal fees charged for advice, communications and representation
  • Court fees
Scott Taylor

Scott Taylor

Partner | Private wealth disputes

01483 464274

Cost considerations when contesting a will

As with any legal action, there are costs involved when contesting a will. Depending on the complexity of the situation, these costs could be significant.

It may be possible for the court to decide that the party which ‘loses’ the case is liable for the legal fees of the other party, or that this can be taken from the estate of the deceased, but this is by no means a given and is at the discretion of the court. It’s more common that the individual parties will be responsible for all of their own costs themselves.

It’s an important consideration for those considering contesting a will that they take into account the potential costs of doing so versus the value of their potential claim on the estate, if they are successful in challenging the will. While an inheritance may not be the only motivating factor in contesting a will, there are some cases where the cost of doing so will far outweigh any financial return expected even if the claim is successful.

It’s also important to note that if you are unsuccessful in contesting a will, a court may instruct that you also need to pay the legal fees of the successful party as well as your own.

An experienced solicitor will be able to assess your case before you start the legal process of contesting a will, and let you know whether they believe it is prudent to proceed with the action, based on their expert opinion.

Funding options for contesting a will

There is a possibility that some solicitors may offer a conditional fee agreement (CFA), which is often called a ‘no win, no fee’ arrangement. This means that if you are unsuccessful in your bid to contest a will, you will not be liable for your legal fees.

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Legal aid and will contestation

There are strict criteria to qualify for legal aid to challenge the validity of a will. You will need to have a very low income and be accessing specific benefits in order for a legal aid application to be considered.

If you are eligible for legal aid for contesting a will, there are usually limitations to the support offered. For example, some legal services and fees will be covered by legal aid, but other costs and expenses incurred for contesting a will won’t be included.

Speak to your solicitor about whether you are eligible for legal aid if you wish to contest a will.

The cost of defending a contested will

If you are not seeking to contest a will but are an executor or beneficiary facing a claim from someone else in relation to the validity of the will, you may need to defend the claim.

It’s important to get legal advice as soon as possible, but essentially you and your legal team will need to provide evidence that supports your claim that the will is valid and fair.

As will the cost of contesting a will, the cost of defending a contested will can vary, depending on how complex the situation is and how much legal work is involved. It is generally considered to be more cost-effective if the situation is resolved via negotiations and mediation rather than going to court.

How can our private wealth dispute solicitors help?

Our private wealth dispute solicitors are experts in resolving disputes related to wills. We provide tailored advice and representation to individuals and families in complex and high-value disputes. Our team adopts a strategic and proactive approach to achieve the best possible outcome for our clients, whether through negotiation, mediation, or litigation. We understand the sensitivity and emotional impact of these disputes and strive to provide a supportive and empathetic service throughout the process.

We have offices in LondonRichmondSouthamptonGuildfordLymington and Woking and offer specialist support and expert advice nationwide.

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