020 8858 6971 contact us Online Payment work for us

Legal costs and funding options for bringing or defending a contested probate claim

FIND OUT MORE

The legal costs when making or defending a claim against a deceased’s Estate can escalate. If the matter proceeds to a contested trial, costs can be significant.

The legal costs involved in either making or defending a claim against a deceased’s Estate will be at the forefront of most peoples’ minds when considering their options. Costs can quickly escalate and if the matter proceeds to a contested trial, the costs incurred by each party can be significant.

Ultimately, it is for the Court to decide who should bear the cost of the litigation. Ordinarily, if the matter proceeds to a trial, the losing party would be required to pay the successful party’s legal costs. This assumes, of course, that the parties have not been able to agree settlement terms between themselves prior to trial (including who will be responsible for paying the legal costs).

In some instances, costs will be borne by the Estate itself rather than an individual party. For instance, if an Executor adopts a neutral position in respect of a claim against the Estate, then ordinarily their reasonable legal costs incurred in obtaining legal advice should be paid by the Estate itself.

Unfortunately, Legal Aid is not available for these types of disputes.

How much will it cost to bring a claim or defend a claim

It is very difficult to provide a “one size fits all” estimate. The costs involved will very much be dependent upon the individual facts of the case and the position adopted by the opposing party.  If, for instance, the opposing party wishes to settle matters swiftly after a letter of claim has been issued or received, then it is possible that an agreement can be reached promptly which will reduce the amount of legal costs incurred. Broadly speaking, the costs involved at this stage could be between £1,500 to £4,000 plus VAT.

If matters cannot be agreed promptly between the parties however, it is normally sensible to consider alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation, at a relatively early stage in the proceedings. For a mediation to be successful, there will first have to be disclosure of all relevant documentation that exists and clarity as to what it is that each party is seeking. Each party’s costs of preparing for and attending a mediation will generally be between £8,000 and £12,000 plus VAT.

If the matter does proceed to a fully contested trial (which only rarely occurs in practice), then each parties’ legal costs  could quite easily exceed £100,000 plus VAT.

We will keep our clients updated at all times with our estimate of costs for each step of the proceedings.

Funding options

There are several ways in which a party to contested probate claim could fund their claim or defence. We explore the majority of these options below.

Paying privately from your own financial resources

This is the most straightforward type of arrangement. Our fees are paid as and when invoices are rendered, which will usually occur at the end of each month. At the conclusion of the matter (and if appropriate to do so), we will seek to recover the majority of those fees incurred from the opposing party or from the Estate.

Litigation loan

In appropriate instances, it may be possible to obtain funding from a specialist litigation lender. That lender will need to be informed of the relevant facts and they will require our view as to the prospect of your success  in either successfully making or defending a claim.

The lender will also need to be informed of the size of the Estate in dispute and conduct their own credit checks against you. It will be at the sole discretion of the lender as to whether they agree to provide funding or not.

No win, no fee type arrangements

In certain matters where we form the opinion that there are good prospects of success in either proceeding with a claim or defending a claim, we may be willing to enter into a conditional fee agreement with you. A conditional fee agreement is commonly referred to as a “no win, no fee agreement”. That is, if you are not successful in your claim or defence, then you will not have to pay for the solicitor’s time for acting on your behalf. You would still, however, be required to pay for all third-party costs incurred, such as court fees and any barrister fees who are also not acting for you under a similar conditional fee arrangement. If you lose, you may also have to pay your opponent’s legal costs, however, please view the below section titled Insurance to cover the cost of paying the opponents legal costs‘.  

Prior to entering into such an agreement, we would need to be fully informed  of the details of the claim being made and have sight of  any documentation that exists. We may also need to obtain an external view as to the likely prospects of success by instructing counsel (a barrister) to provide a report on this.

Under this type of arrangement, if your claim is successful, our fees will become due and payable, together with an additional payment known as a “success fee”. This success fee will be a percentage uplift of the solicitors’ fees incurred and will represent the risk taken on by us in  acting in this type of agreement.

It may also be possible to enter into a conditional fee agreement on similar terms with whichever barrister is instructed.

A deferred fee arrangement

It may also be appropriate in some cases to proceed with a deferred fee arrangement. In these situations, an agreement is reached between  the firm and our client that we will not seek payment of our fees until the conclusion of the matter. Our fees will not be dependent on whether you are successful in your claim or defence. Our fees will be payable in any event.

For us to consider such an arrangement, we would need to be assured that there would be sufficient funds available to pay our estimated fees. We may also need to place a legal Charge on your property as security for our fees. This Charge would be removed when our fees are paid in full.

Insurance to cover the cost of paying the opponents legal costs

In some instances, it may be possible to obtain a specific type of insurance policy known as “After the Event” insurance. This will provide the policy holder with insurance, so that if you are not successful in your claim or defence, the insurance policy will pay the other side’s legal costs to the extent of the amount of cover obtained. This type of policy can also sometimes be relied upon to cover your own legal fees and third-party costs.

Unfortunately, the premium for these types of policies cannot be recovered from the opponent in the event of a successful claim. Therefore, the premium will have to be paid personally by you, unless a specific agreement for the payment of this premium is reached with your opponent.

It is also possible that you may already have funding and insurance cover in place under an existing insurance policy that you have. Quite often, legal expenses insurance is provided either as a standard or as an additional extra under a home contents policy. If you do have the benefit of this cover, then a discussion would need to take place between this firm, your insurer and yourselves as to the funding arrangements going forward.

To make a free enquiry, please call now on 020 8858 6971 to arrange a mutually convenient time for a telephone discussion or email us today.

Meet the Legal costs and funding options for bringing or defending a contested probate claim team
Ray Crudgington
Managing Partner
greenwich
02083054224
ray.crudgington@grantsaw.co.uk
Maria Lati
Partner
Head of Residential Property
blackheath
02083054229
maria.lati@grantsaw.co.uk
Mike Clary
Partner
Head of Family
greenwich
02083054237
mike.clary@grantsaw.co.uk
Kalpa Prajapati
Partner
Head of Private Client
blackheath
02083053536
kalpa.prajapati@grantsaw.co.uk
Mario Savvides
Partner
Head of Commercial Property
greenwich
02083053531
mario.savvides@grantsaw.co.uk
Sarah-Kate Jackson
Partner
Head of Litigation
greenwich
02083054236
sarah-kate.jackson@grantsaw.co.uk
Adina-Leigh Collins
Litigation
Solicitor
greenwich
02083053556
adina-leigh.collins@grantsaw.co.uk
Aimal Gram
Commercial Property
Solicitor
greenwich
02083053524
aimal.gram@grantsaw.co.uk
Aisha Mohammed
Residential Property
Solicitor
greenwich
02083054228
aisha.mohammed@grantsaw.co.uk
Aishat Balogun
Aishat Balogun
Family
Solicitor
greenwich
02083054214
aishat.balogun@grantsaw.co.uk
An Le Tran
Commercial Property
Professional Support Solicitor
greenwich
02083054226
anle.tran@grantsaw.co.uk
Angus Young
Litigation
Solicitor
greenwich
02083054225
angus.young@grantsaw.co.uk
Atifha Aftab
Atifha Aftab
Family
Solicitor
greenwich
02083054238
atifha.aftab@grantsaw.co.uk
Bimal Kotecha
Litigation
Solicitor
greenwich
02083053523
bimal.kotecha@grantsaw.co.uk
Charlotte Mandy
Charlotte Warren
Private Client
Solicitor
blackheath
02083054231
charlotte.warren@grantsaw.co.uk
Claire Mac Mahon
Litigation
Solicitor
greenwich
02083053537
claire.macmahon@grantsaw.co.uk
Deborah Taite
Residential Property
Solicitor
blackheath
02083053542
deborah.taite@grantsaw.co.uk
Emily Pearce
Residential Property
Solicitor
greenwich
02083053526
emily.pearce@grantsaw.co.uk
Georgia Beales
Litigation
Paralegal
greenwich
02083054206
georgia.beales@grantsaw.co.uk
James McKimm
James McKimm
Corporate and Commercial
Solicitor
greenwich
02083054217
james.mckimm@grantsaw.co.uk
Jeremy Brooks
Jeremy Brooks
Private Client
Solicitor
blackheath
02083053534
jeremy.brooks@grantsaw.co.uk
Joanna Godden
Notary Public
Notary
greenwich
02083083535
joanna.godden@grantsaw.co.uk
Kim Whitaker
Kim Whitaker
Corporate and Commercial
Head of Corporate and Commercial
greenwich
02083053539
kim.whitaker@grantsaw.co.uk
Laura Danquah
Compliance Manager
greenwich
02083054222
laura.danquah@grantsaw.co.uk
Lauren Smith
Employment and Family
Paralegal
greenwich
02083053543
lauren.smith@grantsaw.co.uk
Mandeep Clair
Family
Solicitor
greenwich
02083054235
mandeep.clair@grantsaw.co.uk
Michael Pope
Employment
Consultant Solicitor
greenwich
02083053540
michael.pope@grantsaw.co.uk
Michelle Pinnington
Michelle Pinnington
Residential Property
Solicitor
greenwich
02083054216
michelle.pinnington@grantsaw.co.uk
Noella Gooden
Employment
Solicitor (Australian qualified)
greenwich
02083053543
noella.gooden@grantsaw.co.uk
Raj Waghela
Raj Waghela
Residential Property
Solicitor
greenwich
02083053529
raj.waghela@grantsaw.co.uk
Randeep Thethy
Randeep Thethy
Residential Property
Solicitor
greenwich
02083054209
randeep.thethy@grantsaw.co.uk
Ruggero Pesciatini
Ruggero Pesciatini
Corporate and Commercial
Paralegal
greenwich
02083054220
ruggero.pesciatini@grantsaw.co.uk
Sarah Conner
Sarah Conner
Private Client
Solicitor
blackheath
02083054234
sarah.conner@grantsaw.co.uk
Simran Lalli
Simran Lalli
Employment
Solicitor
greenwich
02083054208
simran.lalli@grantsaw.co.uk
Susan Collins
Commercial Property
Solicitor
greenwich
02083054200
susan.collins@grantsaw.co.uk
Tatiana Zenina
Tatiana Zenina
Private Client
Solicitor
blackheath
02083054239
tatiana.zenina@grantsaw.co.uk
Trisha Djemal
Trisha Djemal
Residential Property
Consultant Solicitor
blackheath
02083053546
trisha.djemal@grantsaw.co.uk
Tyrone Grant
Residential Property
Head of Leasehold Enfranchisement
blackheath
02083053522
tyrone.grant@grantsaw.co.uk
Denise
Accounts Staff
greenwich
02088586971
enquiries@grantsaw.co.uk
Jayne Lye
Support Staff
Office Manager
greenwich
02083054204
jayne.lye@grantsaw.co.uk
Jamie
Support Staff
Head of IT
greenwich
02088586971
enquiries@grantsaw.co.uk
Kasia
Accounts Staff
greenwich
02088586971
enquiries@grantsaw.co.uk
Michael Tobin
Michael Tobin
Support Staff
Marketing and Business Development Manager
greenwich
02083053550
michael.tobin@grantsaw.co.uk
Sue Holness
Support Staff
Customer Services
greenwich
02083054221
sue.holness@grantsaw.co.uk