How much does it cost to contest a Will?

No matter the state or jurisdiction, there is a large amount of difficulty surrounding the determination of how much such a proceeding will cost. It varies greatly depending on each individual state of affairs, taking into consideration how willing the executors are to negotiate and whether there are any complicating factors which will affect the estimated cost of your case.

Cost when a Will contest is settled at mediation

Our aim at Hentys Lawyers is always to settle at mediation as it keeps the costs down and provides a much better resolution for all. When a loved one passes away, this can inflict a significant amount of strain on the relationships of those who are impacted. Unfortunately, contesting the deceased individual’s Will can amplify such tensions. Therefore, mediation is the preferred approach as in order to reach a mutually beneficial outcome and preserve familial relationships.

From previous experience, claims for further provision which are settled at mediation generally cost between $25,000 – $30,000. Naturally, this number may be more or less depending on the complexity of your matter and whether any delays or difficulties are encountered during the course of proceedings.

Average cost of a Will contest if taken to Court

Should your matter fail to settle at mediation and end up at court, the resulting legal costs tend to increase substantially, and can range anywhere between $50,000 – $90,000.

Who pays the cost of contesting a Will?

Generally speaking, legal costs in making a claim for further provision are usually paid from the Estate.

If your Will contest is successful

Should your claim for further provision be successful, your legal costs are generally paid from the funds within the estate as opposed to your own pocket. This means that when determining how much money you should be awarded from the Estate, the cost of your legal fees will also be taken into account.

For example, should the Court consider you should be awarded $100,000 and your legal fees cost $55,000, you will end up with $45,000.

However, even if your claim is successful, depending on the Court’s decision, you may only have your legal fees partially funded by the Estate. In such cases, you will, of course, be personally liable for paying the remaining expenses.

If Your Will Contest is Unsuccessful

If you are unsuccessful in contesting a Will, you may be ordered by the Court to pay the costs of the deceased’s Estate along with your own.

What does “successful outcome” mean?

A successful outcome is most commonly defined as the following;

  • A verdict, or judgement, or award in your favour;
  • An offer or settlement which we recommend as acceptable and which in our reasonable opinion represents an appropriate conclusion or resolution of the matter; or
  • A settlement or resolution of the matter in accordance with your instructions.

So how much will contesting a Will cost me?

As there are a variety of factors that will impact the overall costs of your estate dispute, it’s suggested that you get in contact with an estate lawyer promptly to discuss your case.

If you are considering contesting a will or if, as the estate’s executor, you have been called to defend against a claim, getting in touch with the team at Hentys is a great first step to take. With more than 25 years of experience handling will disputes and 95% of our cases settled out of court, we’re dedicated to helping our clients reach the settlement they’re entitled to.