From Our “Ask a Question” Mailbag: “My mother died last year, and my grandmother wanted me to inherit my mother’s share of her estate. My Aunt forced my grandmother to leave me out of her will. My aunt has filed this false will, and I want to challenge the will. How Much Does It Cost to Challenge a Will?”
How Much Does It Cost to Challenge a Will?
Will Contests are not for the faint-hearted. Though a Will Contest can end in a quick settlement, there is no way to force your aunt to agree. Only the judge, after a trial, can order a result. Therefore, you can hope for the best, but you should plan for the worst.
Having an experienced attorney advise you is an important step in a successful will challenge. By having an attorney that understands the process, you can avoid unnecessary actions and disputes. Streamlining, whenever possible, will reduce your costs.
But, even with the most streamlined of cases, procedures must be followed, and the judge must receive evidence to remove the Will. Preparing a successful Will Contest takes lots of time. Though each case is unique, expect to spend at a minimum, $25,000.00.
What Is the Procedure?
The initial step in How to Contest A Will and Win is determining if you have the legal right challenge the will. To succeed, you must file the challenge within the Statute of Limitations period and be an Interested Party.
After filing the Petition, the real work begins. The judge will set a time for Discovery. The time given for Discovery is up to the judge, but six to nine months is typical. Cases are made or lost in Discovery. Discovery includes gathering documents, records, and physical evidence. It includes depositions and interviews with clients and the hiring and preparation of expert witnesses. It includes long hours of reviewing all of this evidence, brainstorming options and then filling any holes with even more evidence. In the end, the judge hears the case satisfying the standards and is allowable within the Rules of Evidence.
After a few months of discovery, and getting a good idea of how many witnesses will testify and outlining the evidence for trial, we can begin giving you estimates of the trial’s length. A will contest trial could be completed in one day, or it could take weeks. Further, the judge’s schedule may require the trial to be spread out over weeks or months.
So, you can see that a case can take a great deal of time and be expensive. Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.
For more detailed information about How to Contest A Will and Win, see my page “Will Contests for Non-Lawyer.”
In Conclusion: How Much Does It Cost to Challenge a Will.
I hope you found helpful this short article about the How Much Does It Cost to Challenge a Will. I have also included some links for more detailed information. If you are curious about pursuing a Will Contest, contact us and let our Will Contest Lawyers help walk you through what can be a confusing process. In fact, feel free to contact our office for a free consultation.
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