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Trust or Will Case: What Is Their Real Worth?

Sometimes there is a disconnect between lawyers and clients on how likely they believe the case is to succeed, and the monetary value of the case. Why?

Litigants typically don’t think of their case in terms of monetary value. Litigants think of their case as a set of bad, often hurtful facts that led them to filing a lawsuit based on the principle of the matter. Litigants are interested in seeking justice.

Belief Differences Between Attorneys and Clients

It is not unusual for clients to develop the belief that their lawyer(s) only care about the monetary value of the case. Why is this? Many lawyers care deeply about getting the best possible result for their clients. However, the nature of lawsuits is that lawyers cannot truly fix the emotional damage; they can only seek justice in the form of financial compensation for their clients. This often leads to a disconnect in how lawyers and their clients perceive cases.

In addition, when someone files a lawsuit, they often don’t understand the roadblocks in front of them. For example, only around 30 percent of trust and will contest cases prevail. It is very difficult to overturn a trust or will. The contesting party has the burden of proof to bring forth the evidence, and if they don’t, they lose everything. Some cases have stronger evidence than others. Even the strongest case doesn’t have a 100 percent chance of prevailing. All cases have some risk of loss.

Most litigants attend mediation prior to trial. During mediation, it is the lawyers’ job is to help the client(s) evaluate the risk of loss based on the strength of the evidence. If the case goes to trial, the winner takes all. Good lawyers do a financial analysis on each case. Experienced lawyers have litigated hundreds of similar cases and can be an excellent advocate to the client, which includes advising the client on the likelihood of success.

Trusting your lawyer is important. You should rely on your lawyer to give you an honest assessment on your chances of success if the case went to trial. If you no longer trust your lawyer, you should find a different lawyer.