Legal costs explained
When you have commenced a legal action, in this site you are called the Claimant.
The legal fees that lawyers charge their clients should be set out in a fee agreement which their client would normally sign. In addition to professional fees, the client would also need to pay any Disbursements, such as Court filing fees, barristers fees etc, that the lawyer has paid on their behalf.
If you sign a fee agreement with CWPL you will know exactly how our fees will be calculated.
If you qualify and sign up under our No Success, No Fee* Plan, you will only be charged a fee if you recover it from the Estate, and you will not have to outlay any fees from your own pocket.
Usually you can claim most of your total legal expenses
When your claim for inheritance of will dispute is decided by the court, the court will usually order that the majority (but not all) of your Total Legal Expenses (i.e. your professional fees and disbursements) should be paid by the Estate.
Most Will Dispute claims settle at mediation
Usually any offer made to you by the Estate will cover both your own Total Legal Expenses, as well as your Settlement monies. The Settlement monies would be the amount the Estate has agreed to pay you from the Estate to settle your Will Dispute claim.
Your Total Legal Expenses may be paid as part of your Settlement monies, or it may be paid in addition to the Settlement monies.
Unless you have an arrangement in place, such as CWPL No Success, No Fee* Plan, you would need to be prepared to pay your legal fees whether you win or lose, and often you will need to pay those fees in advance.
As a result, many people do not make a claim as they are frightened off by the expense of legal fees. Our No Success, No Fee* Plan can reduce the risk to you.
You cannot usually claim all of your legal expenses
Based upon our experience, the court usually requires the estate to pay the majority of the Claimant’s legal expenses, even if the Claimant does not have the strongest claim. However, every court case carries risk, so no Claimant can be sure that the estate will actually end up being required to pay the Claimants legal fees for them.
Even if the court does award “costs” in favour of the Claimant, the Claimant can usually only recover about 60% of their legal fees. The exact percentage depends upon the decision of the court. This means that the Claimant must be prepared to pay approximately 40% of his legal expenses from his own pocket or from the amount he recovered, whether he wins or loses.
With all of these concerns, we find most people choose to take up the offer of a No Success, No Fee* Plan. This limits the risk of being out of pocket for our legal fees, and saves them from having to “pay as you go”.
We will tell you if you qualify for the No Success, No Fee* Plan.
If someone’s claim has little merit
In each State the law provides that if the court found that someone’s claim had little or no merit, the Claimant could be ordered to pay their own legal expenses, plus those of the Estate.
We only advise our clients to commence a claim after making a Formal Assessment. We only advise our clients to commence a claim if we feel that their claim is sufficiently strong that there is little chance that the Estate’s legal expenses would be awarded against them. That way, we feel very sure that our clients should never need to bear the legal costs of the other side.