Florida Probate, Trust & Guardianship Litigation

Probate Contingency Lawyer

Many people involved in probate litigation, a trust lawsuit, or guardianship litigation do not have the means to pay for their case out of their own funds.  Litigation is expensive.  Some probate lawsuits might involve multiple parties all suing each other, sometimes in multiple lawsuits, and sometimes in multiple courts.  Depending on the type of litigation, there could be significant out of pocket costs, such as expert witness fees, court reporter fees, and travel to jurisdictions outside Florida for taking evidence.

Here are some alternative fee arrangements and contingency fee arrangements that probate lawyers in Florida might consider.

  1. Will Contest with a Contingency Probate Lawyer.  If you have been excluded from a will and wish to challenge the will, a lawyer might take your case on a contingency basis, meaning that you only pay our fee if you win or settle the case.  If your case looks really strong, the lawyer might also advance the costs of the case (expert witness fees, court costs, etc.) so that you will have no out of pocket cost unless you win or settle the case.
  2. Will Contest – Pay at End.  Some wills have been improperly altered where they reduce the client’s share of the estate, say from one-third of the estate down to a much lower specific bequest of $100,000.  In such cases, the probate attorney might be willing to allow you to pay on an hourly basis, but at the end of the case, out of the specific bequest to which you would be entitled whether you win or lose your will contest.
  3. Guardianship Litigation.  Guardianship litigation can be expensive— and be expensive quickly, given the fast-paced nature of guardianship lawsuits.  In many cases, the guardianship attorney can be paid out of a client’s future inheritance so as to allow the client to pursue justice.  In some situations, especially where there is going to be a subsequent will contest or trust contest, the lawyer might be willing to take the entire fee on a contingency basis at the end of the guardianship litigation and the inheritance litigation.
  4. Trust lawsuit.  If you have been improperly written out of a trust, a Florida trust lawyer might take your trust litigation lawsuit on a contingency basis, so that you pay only if successful.  In other types of trust lawsuits, the attorney might get paid out of your share of the trust that you receive whether you win or lose your trust lawsuit.
  5. Surviving Spouses.  May probate lawyer represent surviving spouses on a contingency basis or on a pay-at-the-end basis, depending on the situation.
  6. Defending a Will Contest or Trust Dispute on a Contingency Basis.  Depending on the circumstances, a probate litigation attorney might be able to defend a will contest on a contingency basis or pay-at-the-end arrangement.
  7. Probate Administration and Probate Litigation.  Some clients wish to open a probate administration but don’t have the money to pay me to open the estate.  In some cases, the probate lawyer will work with  clients and be paid out of the estate, after the probate administration has been opened.

Not every case will qualify for a pay-at-the-end / contingency fee arrangement.   Most lawyers will not take an estate dispute over personal property (for example furniture or collectibles) on a contingency basis.  The case also has to be pretty strong – most lawyers would normally not take a weak probate case on a contingency basis.

Oral Argument at 5th District Court of Appeals

Jeffrey Skatoff

Free Consultation

(561) 842-4868


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