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Clare
Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 33946
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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How long should I expect to wait before I receive payment from

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How long should I expect to wait before I receive payment from a solicitor once a will has been finalised? ie house sold.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
HiThank you for your questionMy name is ***** ***** do my best to help you but I need some further information firstWho are the Executors and are you meant to receive part of the "residue" of the estate?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I'm the main executor. My sister is the other one, but she lives in New Zealand so I have been dealing with the solicitor. We (45% each) along with 4 others (2.5% each)are due to receive the residue.
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
Have the solicitors sent you the final estate accounts yet?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No. I received an email in early January, which contained copy of an invoice referring to a payment the solicitors had taken from the funds they held. On asking about it, I was told it was the final instalment of their fee for dealing with my fathers estate. The cynic in me thinks that HMRC had made their decision at that time and the email was sent to me in error.
I then asked for a list of all the payments that had been made from the estate and was told it would be emailed to me. I haven't received that thus far.
On 29th Feb I contacted the solicitor asking if there had been any news from HMRC, because their investigation would have been going on for the best part of 4 month. I was told they had concluded their investigation and informed the solicitor on Thursday before (25th Feb) that there was no more Inheritance Tax to pay. She said that she would have a final look at file and make sure nothing was outstanding and then make one final payment towards the end of last week. That didn't happen, I tried to contact her on Monday but was told she was in a meeting and a message would be passed to her. She still hasn't returned my call. It is now 2 weeks since HMRC gave the all clear, in my opinion that's plenty of time to address this problem.
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
Have you received details of the complaints procedure for the firm involved?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No, I haven't asked for those yet.
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
OKBut for clarity - you have never been set a proper estate accounts giving details of all assets and all costs?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No. I haven't had any paperwork of any description from them, apart from the one invoice they emailed to me for the final installment of their fee. That was sent by the office assistant, I'm not certain she was meant to send it to me.
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
I suspect not.Just to check - at the start of the work did you receive a Terms of Business letter setting out charging rates etc?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Initially the fee was agreed in an email. It was a fixed fee with no added costs. I then met them at their office where I took death certificates and other documents in to them. I may have been given something then, to be honest it was over a year ago and I can't remember.
The dispute isn't their fee. It's the money they are holding from the estate. They held back about £150k to cover any money HMRC required, but they are now happy with all the estate valuations.
If I owed someone £5 I'd pay it to them the next time I see them. If I owed someone £50k I'd be on the phone trying to arrange getting the money to them ASAP. I'm annoyed that they'd had 3 days to inform me and I only found out because I'd made contact with them.
I feel 2 weeks is plenty of time to finalise this, especially when the solicitor has been paid in full for their services over 2 months ago. The question is, how long is a reasonable time to expect to wait for this payment?
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
I agree with you - at present I am considering the best way forward.Was it a firm of solicitors or an Probate firm?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
It was a firm of solicitors.
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.
They have behaved very badly indeed There is no excuse for taking money for invoices that have not been approved by you, and there is no reason why they should not have sent you interim estate accounts showing money received and debts paid.Equally there is no reason to delay the final payment (although that is often just the normal delay!)You should write a formal complaint about the handling of the matter and address it to the Complaints partnerIf this is not effective then take the matter furtherhttp://www.legalombudsman.org.uk/Please ask if you need further detailsClare
Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 33946
Experience: I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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