You may still be mourning the loss of a dear one and unfortunately, you are informed that you were cut out of the will of your mother, father, husband or wife or any closely related one. Sometimes, it regards a widowed or divorced old father marrying a young stepmother who then inherits all his assets. What should you do?
1. Check your bank balance!
Litigation is a costly process. No matter why many clients often ask if a lawyer will take the case on a contingency fee basis. That is, the lawyer only gets paid if you win the case and you have to pay your lawyer a fee that equates to one-third of what you receive. Most lawyers will not be attracted to work on such cases where there is a risk that the case is lost and they will not get paid. Even if a lawyer accepts a contingency fee, you should pay attention to their experience level and reputation. Just like when you consider to hire any professional, ask around for referrals. Seek feedback from friends and other professionals, and be sure to talk with more than just one attorney. In this way, you will not only get an idea of the range of the fee proposed by lawyers, but you will also get their perspectives on whether it is worth going forward with the matter. Oates Rennick & Associates operate in Burwood, Melbourne. They have over 40 years of experience providing expert legal advice and services.
2. Can you handle a lot of stress?
Unless you are a calm person by nature, you are probably going to need tranquillizers or medicines to control your stress hormones. When you are considering a will contest, ask yourself if you can afford the stress that it will cause and if you will be able to absorb that much? Your path will be filled with thorns. There will be many lies, accusations and misrepresentations. You may even have to face a counter lawsuit against you. You will most likely be deposed. The opposing lawyer will ask you questions on the case, and every question and answer will then be turned into a written transcript. The opposing party will try to portray you as a greedy person. They will accuse you of living off your mother, never caring about him, and that you did not visit her when she was sick. “Did you ever take mom to the doctor or visit her in the hospital?” Those are questions that will be asked while some people may be ready to falsely testify against you in court.
3. Quick decisions are needed
Once hired, your attorney may advise you to file the lawsuit right away or, depending on the facts of the case, your lawyer may advise sending a letter to the attorney representing the person you are suing, with a request for information. They may choose to reply or ignore your request and you may decide to file suit. In most instances, you have a short time frame to contest the will. Therefore, if you do not quickly decide to contest the will within that limited time frame, you will not be able to bring an action in court. So, it is urgent to consult with a lawyer soon after a person’s death.
4. Most cases settle
Soon after the litigation process has started and that the lawyers have had time to exchange information and do some fact-finding (the discovery process), your lawyer will point out the strengths and weaknesses of your case to you. At that point it may be appropriate for one side to offer a settlement to the other; it is often a good way to end the litigation without the time and expense of a trial. Or, the weaknesses in your case may bring you to accept and walk away with a settlement and further move on with your life.
5. Lawsuits have their load of emotional drama.
At times, the opposing party will be walking away and yelling over their shoulder, “I’ll see you in court!” People get out of control; foul language or provocation to fight may unfortunately arise. While you may hopefully receive a monetary award, your emotional scars may never heal. Your loved one will never come back and you may never be able to keep a good relationship with family members. You cannot repair the bitter truth or heal your emotional wounds. But, even if you heal a bit or not at all, do not expect a court of law to address those grudges. If you can accept that, you will be able to wisely negotiate the settlement. At all time, you should keep your emotions out of it and make a business decision approach to the case, where you stand to win by leaving your ego aside.