Published 31 Mar 2015
Author: David Cossalter
If you are in the middle of pursuing a family provision claim, there is a chance you could be offered a settlement. This typically means the executor of the deceased's will has examined the evidence you and your legal team has presented and is ready to negotiate on the distribution of the estate.
Before you accept a settlement, there are a number of questions you should ask yourself to ensure you receive the best possible outcome from your inheritance dispute.
Is the offer fair?
One of the major drawbacks of settlements is that the plaintiff is not usually given full access to information regarding the deceased's assets.
As such, it can be difficult to gauge whether or not you are getting a fair deal. You may be entitled to more if you take your case to mediation or the courts.
However, there is a chance you could come off worse from a judge's decision, so now may be the time to accept if you're happy with the amount offered.
How strong is your case?
If you have an extremely strong case and it's clear you haven't been adequately provided for in a will, then it may be worth continuing negotiations or progressing to the next step.
Your contesting wills lawyer should be able to advise you on how likely you are to secure a higher offer if you reject the current one.
Are you prepared for a legal battle?
A lengthy inheritance dispute is not only expensive, it could also take up considerable time and resources, as well as cause emotional strain.
Settlements are a much quicker and more cost-effective option, allowing you to receive a share of the deceased's estate without becoming bogged down in the courts.
Could a court case damage relationships?
Contesting a will can create an unfortunate rift between family and friends who are on different sides of the argument. If you are worried taking your case to court could damage relationships with loved ones, you may prefer to agree to a settlement.
What does my lawyer suggest?
An experienced contesting wills lawyer can provide you with crucial help and advice when making a decision on whether or not to accept a settlement.
While you always have the final say, your legal representatives will have dealt with many similar cases and can give you an idea of what to expect based on your specific circumstances.