How Much Does It Cost To Contest A Will

Contesting a will in New South Wales (NSW), Australia, involves a complex legal process, and the costs can vary significantly based on several factors. The specific cost will depend on the circumstances of the case, the complexity of the matter, the need for expert witnesses, the time it takes to resolve, and other variables.

Factors that can influence the cost

Here are some of the factors that can influence the cost:

  • Legal Representation: Legal fees are a significant portion of the costs involved in contesting a will. The choice between a large law firm, a smaller local firm, or a sole practitioner can affect the overall cost. Typically, solicitors charge either on an hourly basis or a fixed fee for specific tasks.
  • Court Costs: Lodging a claim in the Supreme Court of NSW has associated costs. Additionally, there might be other court fees involved during the process, such as filing fees for specific documents.
  • Expert Witnesses: In some cases, you might need expert witnesses (like doctors to provide evidence about the deceased’s mental capacity). Their fees can add up, depending on the nature and number of experts required.
  • Mediation: Before matters proceed to a full court hearing, parties are often encouraged or required to attend mediation in an attempt to resolve their differences. The cost of a mediator, venue, and the lawyers present can add to the overall expense.
  • Duration: If the case is prolonged and involves multiple court hearings or goes to a full trial, costs can increase significantly.
  • Adverse Cost Orders: If you contest a will and are unsuccessful, you might be ordered to pay the legal costs of the other side, which could significantly add to your expenses.

While it’s difficult to provide a precise figure without specific details about the case, it’s not uncommon for the costs to range from a few thousand dollars for a relatively straightforward matter that is settled early, to tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars for complex cases that go to trial.

If you’re considering contesting a will, it’s essential to consult with a solicitor experienced in this area of law in NSW. They can provide a clearer estimate based on the details of your specific situation. Many solicitors also offer a “no win, no fee” basis for these types of claims, which means you don’t have to pay their legal fees unless you’re successful. However, you should always understand the terms and conditions associated with such arrangements.

Cost To Contest A Will in NSW

The specific costs for contesting a will can be highly variable based on the factors mentioned previously. However, I can provide a general estimate range based on typical scenarios:

Initial Consultation

This might range from being free to up to a few hundred dollars, depending on the solicitor.

Preparation and Filing of Documents

Filing an initial claim might range from $500 to $2,000 or more.


Mediation can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000 or more, depending on the mediator’s fees, venue costs, and the duration of the mediation.

Legal Representation

The ongoing legal fees can vary greatly. A less complicated case that settles early might cost between $5,000 to $15,000. A more complex case that goes to court can start from $20,000 and can exceed $100,000 if it goes to a full trial.

Expert Witnesses

If required, they can charge between $2,000 to $10,000 or more, depending on the type and number of experts.

Court Costs

There are fixed costs for various court processes, and these can add up, especially in a lengthy case. Expect to pay a few thousand dollars for various court-related expenses.

Potential Adverse Cost Orders

If unsuccessful, you could be responsible for the other party’s legal costs, which can be as much as your own legal costs, doubling the total.

Considering these factors, a very rough estimate:

  • A straightforward case that is resolved relatively quickly could cost between $10,000 to $20,000.
  • A moderate complexity case that might involve mediation and some back-and-forth, but does not go to a full trial, could range from $20,000 to $50,000.
  • A highly complex case that goes to trial can start at $50,000 and can easily exceed $100,000.

Again, these are general figures, and the actual costs can differ widely based on the specifics of the case and the lawyers involved. It’s essential to obtain a detailed estimate from a solicitor if you’re considering contesting a will.