are they obligated to pay the other persons attorney fees? If so, what can these fees cost? Also, how long can mediation last for a will contest, and what can these fees range?
Difficult to respond. The court might permit everyone to charge their legal fees to the estate. On the other hand, if one of the beneficiaries applies to the court to have their own fee assessed against the person who withdraws, the court can do that. In NJ a probate mediation can last ten minutes or days, it all depends on the issues involved and whether or not the parties are willing to compromise. The fees for mediation are normally about $300 per hour and are shared among the litigants. If you do not have a counsel I strongly recommend discussing your options with a lawyer. There is no easy answer to your questions. I have been involved in probate contest where a very small amount of money is involved, and I have been in contests where the sums and the animosity are both high.
The questioner might find some of my legal guides helpful:
From my legal guides on law in general and about attorneys
Is it Legal? Is it Illegal?
Selecting and Hiring a Lawyer
Understanding the Different Court Systems
Limits on a Lawyer's License: What the Attorney Can and Cannot Do
An Introduction to Legal Terms used in Litigation
Estate Administration and Litigation (with a Will) in General and in New Jersey,
Estate Administration and Litigation (No Will) in New Jersey and in General, Landlord Tenant
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Mr. Sarno is licensed to practice law in NJ and NY. His response here is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/ client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter in question. Many times the questioner may leave out details which would make the reply unsuitable. Mr. Sarno strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in their own state to acquire more information about this issue.
Counsel is correct, it is hard to predict what a Court may do based on the limited information provided.
The assessment of counsel fees is in the discretion of the judge.
Mediation costs can vary based on how long the parties participate in mediation. The parties to the litigation are typically all sharing in the cost of the mediator.
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My colleagues are correct. I wanted, however, to add one quick point. If you had been challenge the probate of a will and now wish to withdraw that contest, my suggestion would be to have your attorney seek to enter into a stipulation that the withdrawal be accompanied by a release in your favor from all other parties, so that nobody will seek to come after you for legal fees incurred.
Good luck to you.