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Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 34885
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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Clare, we presented the experts opinion to the estate solicitors,

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Clare, we presented the experts opinion to the estate solicitors, and are told they won't look at it until their bill is paid for the work from when the "will" was presented to date. What does the Law Society or Solicitors handbook say on such a matter? We are essentially being held ransom to pay bills that should be paid by the estate - as per your previous answer?
Thank you for your question.
My name is Clare
I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
Is this what the Executor herself has been told?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

This was the reply:

Dear Janice,

I would be happy to advise but unfortunately our Credit Control Committee will not permit me to undertake any further work whilst there are invoices outstanding. My letter to you dated 29 January 2015 refers.

Kind regards,

I am trying to decipher The ACTAPS Practice Guidance for the Resolution of Probate and Trust Disputes ("The ACTAPS Code")



3.15 Parties should consider the use of jointly instructed experts so far as possible. Accordingly before any prospective party (the first party) instructs an expert he should (unless of the opinion that another party will want to instruct his own expert) give the other (second) party a list of the name(s) of one or more experts in the relevant discipline whom he considers are suitable to instruct.

3.16 Within 14 days the second party may indicate an objection to one or more of such experts and suggest alternatives. The first party should then instruct a mutually acceptable expert.

3.17 If an expert to be jointly instructed is not agreed, the parties may then instruct experts of their own choice. It would be for the court to decide subsequently, if proceedings are issued, whether either party had acted unreasonably. No party shall be entitled to instruct an expert proposed in a list of experts for joint instructions until it is clear that joint instructions cannot be agreed and thereafter the party who submitted the list of experts shall be entitled to nominate one of the experts on this list as his own chosen expert and no other party shall instruct any expert named on the list until such nomination has taken place.

3.18 If the second party does not object to an expert nominated, he shall not be entitled to rely on his own expert evidence within that particular discipline unless:

(1) the court so directs, or
(2) the first party's expert report has been amended and the first party is not prepared to disclose the original report.

3.19 Either party may send to the expert written questions on the report, relevant to the issues, via the first party's solicitors. The expert should send answers to the question separately and directly to each party.

3.20 The cost of the report from an agreed expert will usually be paid by the party first proposing that a joint expert be instructed. The costs of the expert replying to questions will usually be borne by the party asking the questions. The ultimate liability for costs will be determined by the Court.

is that the name of the Executor?
is this actually a firm of solicitors?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

As there are 7 beneficiaries of Intestacy, the solicitors asked for a representative, so as not to repeat 7 times.

That was the Solicitor to the representative.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The "I am trying to decipher ..." was me, sorry

Sorry - I do recall the position now.
How much are they asking for?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

£384 for liaising with the presenter of the "will" on appointing a joint expert - which they later refused - and drafting a joint letter of instruction ...

Then a further £540 for "work carried out"

Bearing in mind that this can be recovered from the estate after the "Will" has been discredited are you as a group able to fund it?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Getting around 7 people and asking them to payup will always be difficult, what concerns me most is being told that we are all "jointly and severally" responsible for costs.

It is possible to get done, but not likely to be quick

There are two issues here (although I agree it is hard to see them as separate)
Since you have never been given any Client care information then they have no sanction to use against you to recover the funds as there is no basis on which the firm could sue you for the outstanding invoices - you would have a full defence and it would be a lost cause for the firm.
HOWEVER if you wish them to do further work on the issue then they do have a sanction - they can refuse to do any further work until the outstanding invoices are paid.
You then face a problem - you can instruct new solicitors to act on your behalf to fight the "Will" - and they will ensure that you are signed up to a Client Care Agreement - and no doubt ask for costs up front.
Alternatively you pay up and allow Clarke Willmott to continue with the matter.
In fairness the person dealing with the case will indeed have been put under a great deal of pressure to recover what would otherwise be lost income
Clare and 2 other Law Specialists are ready to help you