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How much will the Will challenge cost me and will I be able to recover my costs?

Litigation is expensive. In an average case that requires three days of trial the costs can be in the tens of thousands of dollars.

A litigant cannot control the court process once it is started and is often at the mercy of the other parties to the litigation who may or may not cooperate. 

In some parts of Ontario, the parties may also need to attend mandatory mediation sessions. Mediation can be a cost-saving exercise when it results in settlement. However, if the case does not settle, compulsory mediation may result in added costs.

There was a time when all litigants who were involved in a Will dispute had their costs partially or fully paid from the estate. That is no longer the case. Judges have discretion to order the unsuccessful litigant to pay the other parties costs personally and they regularly make such orders.

Costs awards can also be impacted by the conduct of the parties and by offers to settle. A judge may even order the so called “winning“ party to pay the other parties’ costs if the other parties made a reasonable offer to settle but the “winner“ refused to negotiate or settle.  

© 2015 Lawrence, Lawrence, Stevenson LLP

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