Contentious Probate: How Much and Who Pays?

Who will pay for litigation and how much it will cost are two of the most frequently asked questions by clients. A common response is that “it depends”. Below I explore that answer.

Before court proceedings commence

Each party bears their own costs and generally you cannot recover your costs from the other party.

The general rule

The general rule in litigation is that the loser pays the winner’s costs. The reality though is that the loser rarely pays all the winner’s costs but pays some proportion instead. This is of course still a troubling thought for those thinking of pursuing litigation.

There are exceptions to the general rule. In contentious probate the exceptions can be summarised as follows:

  1. A defendant does not put forward any positive case and instead insists that the will is proved in solemn form. Generally, if the defendant follows the correct procedure here then they should not be liable for costs against them.
  2. Where the testator or beneficiaries are not to blame for the litigation, but there must be litigation because of the particular facts of the case.
  3. The opposite of 2, above.

How much will it cost?

Clearly then the only reliable answer is “it depends”. This is because of the number of variables and exceptions. The main variables are: the particular facts of the case, what rates your solicitors charge, how long it takes to resolve the dispute and how complicated the dispute is.

At Barrett & Co we will consider all the factors and provide you with an estimate at the outset.

Funding options

There are various options for clients to pursue litigation using funding other than the traditional hourly rates of solicitors. Some options include conditional fee agreements, deferred payment arrangements and third-party funding.

At Barrett & Co we discuss your particular needs to suit your circumstances. If you would like an assessment of your case, then we provide fixed fee meetings at a cost of £95. Please call us to book a meeting on 0118 958 9711.

Further Reading:

The tracks at Court: into which track does contentious probate fall?

One of the most important lifetime documents, do you have yours in place?

COVID-19 and delays with Probate

Get in Touch

If you would like further information, Nicholas Buckle offers an initial one hour fixed fee meeting at a cost of £95 (inc. VAT). During these meeting we can discuss your personal circumstances, options and possible next steps. Nick specialises on a broad range of contentious probate matters.

Due to the current circumstances, meetings can occur via telephone. We are hoping that meetings at our office in Reading can occur soon. Please call the office on 0118 9589711 or email [email protected] if you would like to book a meeting.

"barrettandco" and "Barrett & Co" are trading names of Barrett & Co Solicitors LLP, a Limited Liability Partnership incorporated in England and Wales under registration number OC356263, with registered office at Salisbury House, 54 Queens Road, Reading, Berkshire RG1 4AZ. Barrett & Co Solicitors LLP is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority www.sra.org.uk (SRA Number 549694).

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