There are a variety of things to look for when shopping around for the right legal representation for your will dispute. Not least of them is considerable experience directly in estate disputes, as well as a consistent success rate.
The success of a case depends on a lot of factors, with choosing the right lawyer being the most important. The outcome of your case will depend on the knowledge and expertise of your legal representative. Find out more below.
What is their success rate like?
Don’t judge a book by its cover. This is especially true when choosing a legal representative for your case. A lot of law firms make big promises. However, sometimes these advertisements are without substance.
Ask your potential legal representative about their success rate. A good law firm with experience in estate litigation would ideally have a good success rate solving issues before they arise in court.
If over 20% of your lawyer’s cases are settled in court, you are likely not dealing with the right organisations. The best firms are able to help their clients before going to court through mediation, arbitration or negotiation.
Discuss these options with your lawyer before committing to their services. This especially pertinent if you are thinking of hiring them on a No Win No Fee basis.
Is your lawyer able to prepare a case given time limitations?
In Australia, there are strict time limitations placed on disputing a will. These laws will change depending on the state you are in. For example, in Victoria you have up till six months after probate, in New South Wales there is a twelve-month time limit extending from the death of the testator (author of the will), and in Queensland up to nine months after death.
Make sure you have employed a lawyer aware of the time constraints involved in Contesting a Will. If your lawyer has estate litigation experience, they should be prompting you in your discussions to be aware of this time limit.
What is their expertise with Estate Disputes?
Estate law is a very specialised and nuanced area, requiring years of experience and specialised training. A general firm will likely not be able to get the same results as a firm that works exclusively in the area of estate litigation.
A specialist firm will be able to host a variety of services, such as a complimentary meeting to discuss your claim and make sound judgements as to how viable it is.
Make sure whomever you choose also has time dedicated for your particular type of legal problem. Consider if they outsource their tasks or if the have in house resources they rely on.
Consider the cost of their services
Cost is a very important consideration. A lot of people may find it hard to afford legal costs to push their will dispute forward. Finding a quality law firm that offers no win no fee services might be the answer to your problem.
If they do offer no win no fee as a payment option, be sure to make sure to ask about extended costs. You will often have to pay disbursements on top of any legal fees should you win. If you lose you may suffer debt having to pay the other parties’ legal costs. In addition, a ‘uplift fee’ of no more than 25% of the legal costs may be applied given the risk.
If you are paying up front, ask how often payments are to be made and how much the payments are expected to be.
Does the firm have any advantage over other firms?
Experience and a specialised focus on estate law are the two crucial components that give one firm an advantage over the other.
No will dispute case is the same, having a lawyer familiar with the ins and outs of estate law and the potential obstacles and opportunities could be the difference between walking away with nothing and reaching an appropriate settlement.
Researching your lawyer ahead of time is key to getting the outcome you desire from your will dispute claim. You should feel able to trust your lawyer entirely, especially if the case does end up going to court.
For more information on Contesting a Will, try reading this blog to find out more. If you are in Melbourne and interested in Contesting a Will visit the www.willcontesting.com.au website to find out more about Hentys Lawyers and their reliable high quality no win no fee estate litigation services.