In this vlog I look at the perils and pitfalls of bringing a claim against an estate, especially if you are unrepresented and I use an actual claim we are running for promissory estoppel, where a will is being challenge because the deceased made an earlier promise (which she is “estopped” for backing out of, even after her death). I am afraid you almost certainly will need legal advice in what is a complex area…
Firstly, there are dangers if you do not bring the right head of claim (“gateway” to justice). Is it a promissory estoppel claim, an inheritance act claim, or a claim for lack of testamentary capacity? Etc. etc. It can be expensive if you bring your claim wrongly, even if you are subsequently vindicated in the merits of the case as they other side may apply to strike out the wrong head of claim which could have immediate costs consequences.
Secondly, be aware that in a specialist area, or indeed in county court cases generally, costs can also be racked up against you if you miss court deadlines and do not read court orders properly and fail to consult the rule book – the Civil Procedure Rules:
Thirdly, make sure you have the right court and have brought it in the right way according to the claim value and the type of claim your are bringing. There are special district registries for challenging wills and so you should not assume it will automatically go into a normal county court.
I close by laying out how you can approach us for legal advice and to do so in a way that will save you money! I think reduced no win no fee is good for this type of claim. A lawyer is thereby incentivised to win, as part of their fees will only be paid upon a successful result. This avoids the danger of “taxi meter” problems, where you do not know how long the journey is going to take and how much the fare will be.