Contingency Litigation for Wills & Trusts


Contingency Litigation is a fairly simple concept. Essentially, when an attorney takes a case on contingency, they are agreeing to represent you on the bases that if you don’t get paid, neither do they. A contingency lawyer makes only a percentage of the overall settlement and therefore does not get paid if his client loses. Contingency Litigation is a very important service for people who need legal representation but do not have the cash up front to pay a retainer and hourly rates while the case is still ongoing.

How Can Contingency Litigation Help With My Estate Dispute?

More often than not, this is only necessary when the deceased did not leave behind a will but can also be an issue if a will was left but not all personal assets were defined in the will. When no will is left, an administrator is assigned to fairly divide the assets among the remaining living relatives. If one of the living relatives is not satisfied with the way a trust has been administered, they may dispute the trust. This where contingency litigation comes in, if a person is being unfairly left out of a trust administration, they can contact a lawyer to represent them on contingency in order to help them get a fair inheritance.

Estate Disputes

Is This a Common Dispute?

Unfortunately, this issue is much more common than it should be. While living relatives are often left out or under-compensated during the administration of a trust, litigation for estate disputes happen much less frequently than they should. Whether a result of the person wanting to keep peace with the family or simply not knowing where to turn for help, many people go unrepresented and without recourse. Nobody should ever have to go without the help they need in these matters because they don’t have the money for a retainer, so contingency-based litigation is offered by some attorneys to help those who are not in a situation to help themselves.

What if There Was a Will?

Wills can be challenged under certain circumstances and if certain criteria are met, these criteria include:

  • The FAMILY PROTECTION ACT of 1955 allows you to dispute a will if you are a close relative to the deceased and you feel you have not been provided for properly.
  • If the deceased promised to provide for you under the will in exchange for a service that you provided. Whether you’re related to them or not, you may dispute the will under the LAW REFORM (TESTAMENTARY PROMISES) ACT of 1949
  • Under the PROPERTY (RELATIONSHIPS) ACT of 1976, you can forego the disbursement of a will left by a spouse or civil partner, instead choosing to have the property of the relationship divided under equal-sharing rules.

Whatever reason you have, don’t just assume that there is nothing you can do. If you haven’t been provided for fairly by a relative’s estate, contact a lawyer who specializes in wills, trusts, and estates to find out if they can take your case on a contingency basis.

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Derek Coulter

Lead Attorney at Coulter Law Group
Derek Coulter has been an attorney for 13 years and specializes in helping people start businesses the right way. He also has extensive knowledge and experience in handling disputes involving Wills, Trusts, and Estates.

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