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You have asked quite an open ended question where the answer could vary from $1000 - $100,000 depending on the complexity of the issues to resolve and how many parties to the dispute there may be, and the supporting and contradictory information that will surround the reason why the will would be contested in the first place.
As for time, once again, if the issues can be resolved quickly by agreement via mediation and negotiation it could be completed within a few weeks, if the issues need to be determined by a court, it could be anywhere from 12 months up to 5 years!
I trust this information assists to give you a starting point, if you are able to narrow down the issues in contention and parties to deal with I will clarify further if I can
My Father passed away 4 mounths ago leaving two wills, one sighned & one unsighned
the fist being his original, and the second he made with a solicitor two days before he passed away but did not have time to sighn ,we would like to go with the unsighned will
both wills are made with the same solicitor who admits witnessing the second unsigned will but is not acting for us .he is acting for the executor who benifits more from the first will
we are dads children by birth
the executor is his second wifes daughter
Thank you for the additional information.
The issues will include but are not limited to:
I question how a Solicitor can admit to witnessing an unsigned will? as he should have witnessed the will AFTER your Father had signed it.
This same Solicitor is going to be faced with a conflict of interest here, he is acting for the Executor - yet also acted for your Father in the preparation of the second will, which he has potentially witnessed before your Fathers signature was on the document, he is in trouble on that point alone.
Setting that issue aside, he is potentially your witness as well to confirm that the unsigned will was your Fathers last will, albeit unsigned - yet at the same time he has to act on behalf of the Executor, he does not make for a credible witness.
This is just a very small summary, I am sure there is more if all parties are interviewed to answer the fundamental question - which will IS the valid will?
Its not my place to draw any conclusions here as there is clearly going to be a dispute of some description, as you are the children you have a valid right to contest the will if you have not been adequately provided for - you do need to take your independant advice and bear in mind that the costs of contesting the will may well dilute the estate as a whole, hence the importance of both parties settling on a compromise to preserve the assets for distribution.
I trust this clarifies the question for your acceptance, my original answer on costs here could be narrowed down to under $5000 with agreement, up to $50,000 without and the time frame remains unchanged depending on whether it is mediated or determined in the courts.
I wish you the best in any event
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