• Welcome to the LegalBeagles Consumer and Legal Forum. Please register to get the most out of the forum. Registration is free and only needs a username and email address.
  • LegalBeagles® is a free forum, founded in May 2007, providing legal guidance and support to consumers and SME's across a range of legal areas.

    Please do not post your full name, reference numbers or any identifiable details on the forum.

Probate solicitor unregulated

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Probate solicitor unregulated

    My father and stepmother died in 2016. After a failed maintenance claim by s relation, we are now at the stage where the residual monies are about to be paid out - the probate solicitor held back £48k in anticipation of the final accounts which were held up for 6 months for no reason.

    My sister the executor made a verbal complaint last week, just after they finalised accounts and said they would pay the residuals last week. Without going into detail, the probate solicitors advice cost us £40k in legal fees, and they have consistently failed to communicate or provide details of invoices and accounts.

    They now tell us that they have stopped the final payment while they seek legal counsel regarding the verbal complaint. However it seems that although they advertise as probate experts they are not regulated by The Law Society or SRA.

    Where do we go from here?

    all advice welcomed and thank you

    Tags: None

  • #2
    Throughout the post you have described the person dealing with the claim and probate as a Solicitor but then say they are not Solicitors, just Probate Experts. Your first step is to find out their exact status. You may still be able to take a complaint through the Legal Ombudsman.

    Had your sister (the executor) instructed the Probate firm just to defend the maintenance claim ?



    “We may not win by protesting, but if we don’t protest we will lose. If we stand up to them, there is always a chance we will win.” Hetty Bower

    Any support I provide is offered without liability, if you are unsure please seek professional legal guidance.

    Received a Court Claim? Read >>>>> First Steps

    If we have helped you we'd appreciate it if you can leave a review on our Trust Pilot page

    Find Solicitors offering fixed fees on our sister site - JustBeagle.com

    Comment


    • #3
      They were instructed to defend the maintenance claim, and assured us they would deal with it until just before it was due to go to court then informed us that the solicitor they had instructed would work for the estate and we needed our own solicitor.

      I will double check whether the company we used to obtain probate is an actual solicitor.

      Comment


      • #4
        Hi Jintybcr,
        As Amethyst indicated your post is a little confused. Was the solicitor (if they are) instructed to deal with the claim against the estate? What quote did they give you at the outset and was the quote revised? You need to get your terms and conditions letter out together with the client care letter you should have received initially and check what the arrangement was.
        If you were successful in the defending the maintenance claim in the Court, was there not a costs order made that the person bringing the claim would be responsible for?
        So how many solicitors were there and who were they dealing with? Are you an executor and/or a beneficiary? Who instructed solicitors to deal with the estate to get the Grant?
        Sorry but a little more detail is needed to be able to point you in the right direction.
        I am a qualified solicitor employed by the LegalBeagles forum to provide guidance on a wide range of legal queries. I am happy to try and assist informally, where needed.

        Any posts I make on LegalBeagles are for information and discussion purposes only and shouldn't be seen as legal advice. Any practical advice I give is without liability. I do not represent people on the forum.

        If in doubt you should always seek professional face to face legal advice.

        Comment


        • #5
          Hi Peridot,

          let me try try and make it clearer.... it is complicated. It seems the company we employed for probate are not a solicitor, just a probate firm. My stepbrother went down the NWNF route for a maintenance claim, entirely fabricated, and eventually he dropped it after we agreed not to seek our costs, although he was liable for the solicitor the probate firm hired to protect the estate. 6 months later and the solicitor who was hired to protect the estate had done nothing to recover costs, so we agreed to let the estate swallow those costs, and finalise the estates.

          Both the probate firm and the solicitor they have hired have misled us, misinformed us and help up proceedings beyond reasonable. The original fixed fee quote has escalated doe to this maintenance claim, and that dies not include the £9.7k paid out to the solicitor protecting the estates interests, and let’s not forget the £30k we paid another solicitor to defend the claim.

          i am a beneficiary but my sister is an executor and we are looking for somewhere,someone to complain to. The probate service “comply” with SRA code of conduct but are not regulated by them

          Comment


          • #6
            Hi Jintybcr,

            Do the probate 'specialists' not have a complaints procedure and a way to question a bill in the terms of business?

            Did you receive quotes for the defence of the claim. These should be separate from the administration of the estate in relation to the usual probate process.
            You mention the step brother agreed to drop his claim provided the estate took responsibility for the costs incurred. Why was there 2 solicitors one employed by the estate and another for defending the claim? Sorry I am confused still.

            Did you not receive a breakdown of all the costs incurred and what they actually relate to ie administration of the estate, defending the claim etc.
            I appreciate there was some delay in dealing with the estate but was it a particularly complicated estate, properties (more than one) stocks and shares, issues dealing or establishing asset values and the like?

            I would want a break down of exactly what time has been spent on what activity. Even defending a claim, if the matter did not go to Court and the estate was reasonably straightforward I would think £40k bill is somewhat steep.

            Your sister the executor needs to dig out all terms and conditions and her initial letters to compare quotes together with any updates she received through the process.

            Law firms often have a lien over files they deal with allowing them to retain files and down tools effectively if bills are not settled but I am not sure how unregulated firms would operate. If needs be a redacted copy of the T&C's and client care letters can be posted on here so we can have a look and see if there is anything to suggest.
            I am a qualified solicitor employed by the LegalBeagles forum to provide guidance on a wide range of legal queries. I am happy to try and assist informally, where needed.

            Any posts I make on LegalBeagles are for information and discussion purposes only and shouldn't be seen as legal advice. Any practical advice I give is without liability. I do not represent people on the forum.

            If in doubt you should always seek professional face to face legal advice.

            Comment


            • #7
              We were advised by the probate firm eventually that we needed our own solicitor to defend the claim, and the probate firm also needed to hire their own solicitor to defend the claim for the estate. They do state they are regulated by the institute of Will writers, of whom have a complaints procedure.

              Sadly the the breakdown seems to be £25 for reading an email, paying an invoice etc. The accounting at best is erratic.

              Comment


              • #8
                Hi Jintybcr,
                Apologies been laid low with the lurgy hence the delay.
                It appears that they charge in six minute units like solicitors do so if their hourly rate is £250 ph then a letter/e-mail would often be about that price. However the hourly rate does seem a bit steep when you don't have a solicitor acting. This was a solicitor partner's hourly rate not so long ago, outside London. You also need to check the quotes and updated quotes if you received any.

                You need to go through their breakdown and tally it. If you agreed the hourly rate in the terms of business at the outset there may be little you can do in relation to that although much of the basic requests for info and payment of invoices would not need to be completed by a more qualified person so there may be some leeway there. In addition if they never quoted this could also be a stick to beat them with. I would query the Bill and if you feel it appropriate make a formal complaint, initially to the company then to the Institute of Will Writers if they do not respond appropriately. It may also be worth considering what figure you would believe appropriate once you have completed the exercise of seeing what was done and making an offer to settle the bill for an appropriate amount.

                Depending on the length of the claim number of hearings etc it can become very expensive dealing with a Court claim in a disputed probate matter and as each party has become responsible for their own costs rather than any cost shifting to the losing party it may be that the bill isn't far off but do check exactly what they have been charging for. There could be negotiations to be had.
                I am a qualified solicitor employed by the LegalBeagles forum to provide guidance on a wide range of legal queries. I am happy to try and assist informally, where needed.

                Any posts I make on LegalBeagles are for information and discussion purposes only and shouldn't be seen as legal advice. Any practical advice I give is without liability. I do not represent people on the forum.

                If in doubt you should always seek professional face to face legal advice.

                Comment

                View our Terms and Conditions

                LegalBeagles Group uses cookies to enhance your browsing experience and to create a secure and effective website. By using this website, you are consenting to such use.To find out more and learn how to manage cookies please read our Cookie and Privacy Policy.

                If you would like to opt in, or out, of receiving news and marketing from LegalBeagles Group Ltd you can amend your settings at any time here.


                If you would like to cancel your registration please Contact Us. We will delete your user details on request, however, any previously posted user content will remain on the site with your username removed and 'Guest' inserted.

                Announcement

                Collapse
                See more
                See less

                Court Claim ?

                Guides and Letters
                Loading...

                upgrade to vip

                Want exclusive access to forums, more privacy and a live chat box? Upgrade to become a bigger part of our community.

                only £15/yr

                Offers available. No subscription traps.

                sign up now



                Search and Compare fixed fee legal services and find a solicitor near you.

                Find a Law Firm


                Working...
                X