Area of law: Wills and probate
Complaint reason(s): Delay, costs excessive, failure to advise, costs information deficient, failure to investigate complaint internally
Outcome: Ombudsman decision rejected by complainant
When Mr X’s mother died he found out that he was a residuary beneficiary under her will but that his sister was the sole executor. His sister appointed the firm to help her to administer her late mother’s estate.
Mr X soon became dissatisfied with the firm. Things were taking too long and that he wasn’t being given all the information he wanted, despite repeated requests. What was worst was that the firm had taken money – about £8,000 – from his later mother’s estate to pay their own fees. He felt that at least some of that money should have gone to him. He complained to the firm but they didn’t respond to all his points.
When Mr X brought his complaint to us, we found that because he was a residuary beneficiary the firm wasn’t obliged to do as he asked – or even provide him with all the information he wanted. The firm’s duty was to Mr X’s sister. We didn’t find any evidence that the firm had acted inappropriately or that there was anything wrong with their bill. We also found, ironically enough, that Mr X had contributed to the costs and delays – by contacting the firm so often he had distracted them from the work in hand.
The ombudsman agreed that there was no poor service. Mr X rejected the decision.