Are you looking forward to contest a will? It’s not easy to challenge a will since it is seen as the voice of the testator—the person ordering the will. The court, therefore, does not allow anyone to challenge it without solid reasons. Plus, in most cases, the testator is no longer there to speak about his/her wishes, making it even more difficult to challenge a will. However, in a few special cases you can challenge a will but only if you have valid legal reasons, such as:
- There is a lack of due execution
- There is lack of testamentary capacity
- There is lack of knowledge and approval
- You suspect forgery or fraudulent activities
- In case of undue influence
One question that many people challenging a will ask is – what would be the cost of challenging a will? There is no simple answer to this question. This is because the cost of challenging a will depends on a number of issues that include the type of dispute, the available evidence, the number of parties involved, whether the parties are willing to negotiate and others. However, inheritance claims can be more expensive compared to other types of litigations. There are the two rules that apply to such inheritance claims, so it is a must that you know about them when you are looking forward to challenge a will. They are:
- Costs may either be in the discretion of the court or
- The losing party may be ordered to pay the winning party’s costs
The costs of challenging a will include:
- The lawyer’s professional fees and
- Disbursements or other expenses such as search fees, fee for reports, photocopying fees, fees for reports by doctors and others.
You can pay the lawyer in a number of ways. Some of the most common types of payment agreement are as follows:
- No Win No Fee Agreement: The opponent party has to bear the costs if you win the case. You pay nothing if you lose.
- No Win No Fee Damaged Based Agreement: This works similar to the ‘No Win NO Fee’ agreement but with the costs being paid out of any damages recovered.
- Fixed Fee: You need to pay a fixed amount of money (agreed in advanced) for handling the case.
- Deferred Fee Basis: The costs are deferred until the case ends.
Therefore, if you want to challenge a will, you must first work with an experienced lawyer to see if you have the legal right to challenge the will. If you have valid legal reasons, then discuss the probable costs that you may have to bear, before filing a claim. This is important because every case is different and the cost associated will be different as well. Inheritance claims can be very complicated, so you must prepare well before moving to the court.