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Invalid Will - release of information

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  • Invalid Will - release of information


    I have posted before regarding my late mother's invalid will and the difficulties resulting from this.

    As I'm now living in New Zealand I do not know what is in place in the UK regarding access to information.

    We believe that our mother's solicitor failed in their duty to advise us correctly over the unsigned will.

    While our mother was still alive we found it unsigned, although obviously sighted (as minor alterations were initialed in places) but with no final signature. When this was brought to the attention of the solicitor attending us at the time, we were told that it was valid. However, on our mother's death we have found this not to be the case. This is particularly disappointing as we could have arranged for our mother to sign her will.

    The firm's representative now says that the solicitor (who now appears to have left their employ) at the time did fail in her duty but that her notes show that she advised us that with the unsigned will the outcome would be the same as if it was signed, that is the laws of intestacy will ensure that the same equal division of assets would occur, implying all is well. Unfortunately the will has become contentious and who is to have letters of administration a big part of the argument. The will had nominated executors.

    As this and other recollections do not match our own we would like to see those notes made my the solicitor at that time. We have asked to see these notes on a number of occasions but the firm side-steps it. Is there any way that we can insist this information is supplied? How can we do this?

    Any help or comment would be gratefully received.
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  • #2
    Re: Invalid Will - release of information

    I would suggest you take advice from another solicitor concerning the liability of the first firm.
    The firm have admitted they failed in their duty and so are possibly are liable for all the extra costs and are obviously unwilling to disclose the information you are seeking.
    It may be the threat of court action, supported by another solicitor, will encourage them.
    Otherwise you may actually have to issue court proceedings and obtain a disclosure order under CPR 31 16

    Negligently Drafted Wills
    A solicitor or indeed any qualified (or non-qualified) Will writer is responsible to fulfil a duty of care not only to their client upon whose behalf they are writing the Will, but also to the beneficiaries involved. Common causes of professional negligence claims held against solicitors within this field are:
    • Failure to ensure that a will is validly witnessed and signed
    • Failure to ensure that a will is prepared in a reasonable time frame.
    • Failure to check a will for errors that could partially or entirely invalidate the will.

    The solicitor or indeed other negligent professional is obligated to administer the estate correctly and in accordance with the law. In the instance that he or she fails to do so the executors are consequentially entitled to bring forward a professional negligence claim, reporting the financial loss suffered as a result of the solicitor’s negligence.

    and also here> http://www.carruthers-law.co.uk/arti.../#.VHEB8ousVZ8


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