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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 32177
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Question re probate,Hallo and thank you. The silicitor

Customer Question

Question re probate, Hallo and thank you. The silicitor in question is named on my aunts will as the executor and myself and my brother are beneficiaries. In january this year my aunty passed. The file for her affairs was in order as I had P>O>A and was dealing with it all. There was no house to sell just bank accounts to close ( 2 larger sums in 2 year bonds maturing in July 2013). There were no bills to pay; just DWP to contact although I had done that and written to them and they confirmed there were no outstanding bills or monies etc. I handed the file to the solicitor whos only task was to get probate and check what I had done. Slight complication was that my brother declared himself bankrupt days before my aunty passed. The solicitor knew this and in his proposal letter for dealing with the estae outlined his fees, estimate of the time it would take to deal with the case. All along he said it would be straightforward as all the work was done (by myself and the house already sold;which he dealt with) So I saw him in February and asked the question : if there is a lot more time spent on my brothers behalf due to the bankruptcy and dealings with trustees will it impact on me? His reply; ABSOLUTELY NOT. Since then I have had one letter to say that probate was issued 27.3.13. Note the 2 larger sums and remaining bank accounts were closed the next week although interest would have been allowed to accrue until July as I checked with the banks.PS I had also already given the banks death certificates and notified them in January. I had no further contact from the solicitor. So in JUne I started ringing to get an update. No News despite several calls. He rang mid July. I asked what the delay was and if any problems had occurred. No he said; Just waiting to hear from the DWP! He then also checked details on some items in the will on behalf of the trustees and my brother. I asked the question again; will I be penalised in any way for any added time spent on my brothers behalf? No, don't worry about it he said again. So no News in August and I arranged to see him last week(5/9/13) This is when he said finally the funds were ready to issue. I asked what the long delay was after he originally said it would be a few months. I asked why he closed the accounts in april and had the money sat in HIS client account for 5 months without any updates or explanations. I asked about the fees and time spent on my brothers file. He then announced that the fees would be taken out at source from the estate. I queried this since clearly there has been time spent as a result of his complications and after all the work done by myself I asked the solicitor to take the fees off his half of the estate. The solicitor said I had to take responsibility swell. Talk about changing his tune now after the event and after assuring me it would not affect me. He would not give me any idea of the fees as an estimate and i feel has been very vaque, showed little professional integrity and has been misleading and definitely inconsistent. My question is; can I ask him again to take my brothers time costings off his half of the estate? Can I contest the fees on the basis of this explanation of service which I feel most disappointed in? If I get nowhere am I justified in going through the complaints procedure? Ps this is after he recommended to me that to avoid any problems with family and since the case was so straightforward That I was not named as JOINT Executor. And when I asked in January If he would hand over the excutor role to me( in anticipation of being able to help my brother) he refused. Yours Sincerely XXXXX XXXXX 10.9.13

Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  James Mather replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for your question here on Just answer. It is my pleasure to try and assist you with this today. Please bear with me if I need to ask for any further information from you in order for me to be able to advise you fully. My name isXXXXX and I am a practising solicitor. I have been an expert on this website in UK law since 2008. During that time, as you appreciate, I have answered thousands of questions from satisfied users on a variety of subjects.
Because we are all in practice with clients and court and other users, I might not always respond in minutes, particularly evenings and weekends. Please bear with me in that case. I will be online and off-line all day most weekdays and weekends.
Is it possible to summarise your complaints about this solicitor?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Summary; My experience is that the solicitor dealing with my aunts case has not provided a good service. He is not giving a true explanation for why he still has her money in his client account after 6 months. He has mislead me on the fee charging plan and implied I would not be penalised for the time spent(extra due to bankruptcy of my brother) on my brothers case. He has not informed me or updated me since his fees were outlined in January and is now being very vague about the time spent. I await a letter but he insists I will now be charged for my brothers time although I asked the fees to be taken of each half of the estate respectively. His original calculation was that dealing with this probate would take 2 or 3 months.probate was issued 27.3.13. There were 3bank accounts to close.

Expert:  James Mather replied 4 years ago.
I am away from my desk at the moment. I have seen your reply and I will get back to you as soon as I have a keyboard in front of me. No need to reply to this post. Thanks