Inheritance Disputes - Costs & Funding

How much does it cost to contest a will?

We appreciate that the cost of obtaining legal advice or pursuing or defending a claim is often a great concern to clients. 

It is exceptionally difficult to predict with any degree of certainty the precise cost of contesting a will. Much depends on the nature of the dispute, the number of parties involved, and how protracted matters become. Once we have carried out an initial assessment of your case, we will be able to provide you with a cost estimate for the next steps.  We can also advise you on what alternative funding options might be available to you, should you lack the resources to fund your legal costs.

This brief guide outlines the various funding options that we may be able to offer to you.

Inheritance disputes - funding options

The alternative ways of funding your contested probate claim are set out below. Not all will necessarily apply to your case. If you are interested in considering what options are available to you, we can advise you after an initial assessment of your claim.

Privately paying

Hourly rates

The traditional method of charging is for the time spent on your matter at the lawyer's hourly rate.  Although the costs incurred will simply depend on the time spent, we ensure that we provide estimates of the costs of the next steps so you are kept fully aware of the costs being incurred at every stage.

Fixed fees

In certain cases we may be able to give you a fixed price for the work (or parts of the work).  We appreciate that some clients prefer the certainty that fixed fees provide as to the costs of the proposed task or step. It may be possible to have a blend of normal hourly rates with fixed fees for certain stages.

Deferred fees

In some cases we are able to offer a Deferred Payment Arrangement, usually where a form of security is available or if it is clear that you will ultimately recover an interest in an estate or trust from which the costs can be met.  Under a Deferred Payment Arrangement we are able to defer charging for our services until the end of a matter. 

"No win no fee" or "No win low fee"

In limited circumstances we are able to provide our services on a "no win no fee" or "no win low fee" basis, also known as Conditional Fee Agreements.  It is important to note that only cases that have a good prospect of success will be eligible to be dealt with on this basis.  In these cases a success fee (which can be up to 100% of the legal costs) is applied in addition to the normal rates, if the matter is successful and no fee (or the low fee) if the matter is unsuccessful.

Third party funding

Litigation loans

It may be possible for you to take out a loan with a specialist lender to cover your legal fees.  Funds are paid directly to your lawyer and are drawn down as and when required throughout the case.  The loan, plus interest, is then repaid from your inheritance.  

'Before the event' legal expenses insurance

You may have insurance that covers legal expenses for certain types of claim.  You should check to see whether you have insurance for legal expenses attached to any of your household buildings and contents insurance, motor insurance or even certain bank or credit card services. 

'After the event' legal expenses insurance

It may be possible for you to take out an insurance policy to cover your fees and/or any adverse costs order made against you, and therefore to protect you from having to pay costs and disbursements if you become involved in court proceedings and lose. The policy may also cover your own costs and disbursements and indeed the insurance premium itself (in addition to the other side’s costs) should you lose. However, under the new court rules the premium cannot be recovered from the other parties so this is an expense you will incur if successful, as a cost of bringing the claim.

Trade Union funding

Some clients have the benefit of free advice and representation funded by their Trade Union. Trade Unions tend to control who can act on their members’ behalf and have a limited panel of approved solicitors. You would need to check with your union to see if we can act for you.

Legal Aid

We are not able to assist you with funding under the Legal Aid Scheme. The Scheme is much more limited in scope than in the past.  The rules on Legal Aid expressly exclude from the Scheme, legal services provided in relation to the making of wills and to matters of trust law.

Get in touch

Whether you need to dispute a will or defend your inheritance, our specialised Disputed Wills and Trusts Team will work with you to achieve the best result for you. Please get in touch with any of our expert team directly or via the contact button below. You can also call us on freephone 0800 0931336 or by email at for a no obligation chat and to see how we can help.

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