Who Pays to Contest a Will?

5th August 2022 Will Disputes


If you want to contest a will, you can do so by going through the courts. Contesting a will is known as a contentious probate case. The person contesting a will is usually the person liable for paying the fees and you may have to pay the legal fees upfront.

If your case is successful, the judge may find that the losing party is liable to reimburse the legal costs of contesting a will. It is best to get legal advice from a solicitor before contesting a will. Keep reading to find out who pays to contest a will.

Who pays to contest a will?

Contesting a will means you may have to pay the legal fees upfront to the solicitor taking your case. If you want to contest a will, initially it will be up to you to pay. Depending on how complex the will is, contesting a will can take some time. In some circumstances, our solicitors may be willing to take on your case on a conditional fee agreement (no win, no fee) or deferred fee agreement (payment at conclusion). If you wish for your case to be assessed for one of our funding arrangements, contact us as soon as possible.

It is always best to get legal advice, as contesting a will can be difficult. You need to prove that the will is incorrect or invalid with reason. Speaking to a solicitor will also help you come up with a payment solution that suits you.

Even though you will need to pay the legal fees of contesting a will, you may be able to get this back. When you contest a will, the losing party is often ordered by the judge to reimburse the other parties’ legal expenses. This means even if you pay, you could be reimbursed at the end of the case for your own costs (for example, the cost of court proceedings).

If you believe a will is not valid or the person writing the will was manipulated in any way, you should speak to a solicitor. They can give you a better idea of whether such claims have the correct evidence to successfully contest a will. When a solicitor believes you have the right evidence, it can be worth the initial legal expenses of contesting a non-valid will.

This is especially the case if you will benefit from having the will contested. Finding out you have been left out of a will or that a will was changed last minute can be a challenging situation. The solicitors at JMW can help and support you during this difficult time.

How do I contest a will?

You can contest a will by getting help from a solicitor. They will let you know the process of contesting a will, which is easier before any estates have been distributed. There are various scenarios that might entitle you to contest a will and you might wish to challenge the validity of a will or you might be seeking reasonable provision from an estate despite a will. Contact us to find out if you have the legal right contest a will.

Typically, people who contest a will are directly related or otherwise close to the person who made the will (the testator). This could include children or grandchildren. Spouses can also contest a will, as can any beneficiary named in the will. If the will is invalid and there is no other will, intestacy rules will apply.

You should make sure you understand the intestacy rules and whether you would benefit from contesting a will before going through the legal procedures. You may want to contest a will anyway, especially if you believe the testator was manipulated or coerced. This could mean the will no longer meets the wishes of the testator.

Why do people usually contest a will?

To contest a will, you need a reason for contesting. You cannot simply contest a will because you do not agree with the outcome. A will is sometimes contested because a person believes the testator was coerced. This means somebody else manipulated the testator to change their will to benefit them.

This could be obvious if the person who benefits most from the will is somebody who was not close to the testator. A will can also be contested if the testator was not in the right state of mind when writing a will. This can be proven if the testator had an illness that could affect the mind or was deemed to be a vulnerable person. A medical professional will usually help in these cases.

If the will was changed last minute or changed dramatically to benefit one person, this could be grounds for contesting a will. A solicitor can help you prove your case and contest a will. It may take some time to contest a will and no estates can be passed down until any inheritance disputes have been resolved. If you think you have a reason to contest a will, you should get legal advice straight away.

The party who wants to contest a will are responsible for the initial legal costs of contesting. If successful, the losing party pays the winning party's costs incurred for contesting a will. You can speak to a solicitor and seek legal advice on contesting a will. They can also help you come up with the best financial solution, sometimes with a no win, no fee agreement. 

To speak to a member of the JMW wills disputes team, get in touch by calling 0345 872 6666, or fill in our online enquiry form to request a call back.

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