How Much Does It Cost to Contest a Will?
While you can contest a will on your own, the majority of inheritance disputes are settled in favor of the individual who drafted the will.
The court has every incentive not to draw out the process and prefers to enforce the wishes of the deceased in these matters.
Your chances won’t get better without an attorney. Ultimately, if you are interested in contesting a will, the following answers should help you understand what may lie ahead.
Who Pays for Contesting a Will?
The cost of contesting a will is paid for by the individual who seeks to declare the will invalid. In other words, if you want to contest a will, then you’re responsible for paying the attorneys’ fees.
How are Attorneys Paid in Inheritance Disputes?
In the majority of cases, attorneys are paid based on a retainer. The contesting party or parties will deposit a retainer with their lawyer and their lawyer will charge them for billable hours out of the retainer. Whatever is not used will be returned to the clients.
The contesting of a will involves litigation and the process of litigation is expensive. Clients will be responsible for ensuring that the retainer is resupplied once it runs low and the closer the case comes to trial, the more often it will need to be resupplied. Generally speaking, this happens on a monthly basis.
Do Any Attorneys Work on Contingency for Will Contests?
Working on contingency means that an attorney does not get paid until you get paid. In other words, the attorney incurs a substantial risk if the court finds in favor of the opposing side.
Most attorneys will work on a contingency given that certain criteria for your case are met. Specifically, the award money must be large enough to warrant the risk to your lawyer that the will contest would fail.
The second criterion that needs to be met is that your grounds for contesting the will must be reasonable. There are many instances in which a party may simply not be happy about their allotment of property, so they assume the deceased was not in their right mind.
Logistically, it can be very difficult to prove adequate grounds for contesting a will, but if those grounds are there your chances improve exponentially.
What Happens if I Win my Lawsuit and Get the Will Tossed?
At this point, one of two things can happen. First, an older copy of the will would be “resurrected” and used in its place. When available, this is the preferred mode for the court. Of course, the older will can also be contested.
The second possibility is that there are no more valid wills to resurrect, in which case the distribution of property would fall under Texas law and the rules of intestate succession.
On Average, How Much does it Cost to Contest a Will?
Ultimately, this depends on the length and complexity of the case, especially in terms of the length of the trial and the litigation period. This is a question that you should pose to an attorney before moving forward with the process.
Will contests are complex legal battles. You need an attorney who can prove the grounds on which the will can be declared invalid. The Dallas attorneys at Lindquist Wood Edwards LLP will manage your dispute from the beginning to the end and vastly improve your chances of contesting the will of deceased loved one.
Give us a call at 214-891-7581or contact us online and we’ll get to work on your case immediately.