Area of law: Wills and probate
Complaint reason(s): Delay, failure to follow instructions, failure to keep informed
Remedy: To pay £500 compensation
Outcome: Ombudsman decision rejected by complainant
Mr and Mrs W employed the firm to draw up wills for both of them. A solicitor at the firm was an executor of both the wills. When Mrs W died it soon became clear that dealing with her estate would be far from straightforward.
Mrs W’s daughter made a claim against her late mother’s estate under the Inheritance Act, something that Mr W said he hadn’t been told could happen. That was the first of what Mr W describes as a series of problems, including not providing him with a breakdown of their costs, giving him bad advice about paying estate bills himself and refusing to instruct an accountant to value a business that formed part of the estate. The firm denied that there was anything wrong with their service and so Mr W brought his complaint to the Legal Ombudsman.
When we investigated, we found that the firm’s service had been reasonable, given the difficult circumstances. However, we did find that the firm should have explained why they didn’t think it was necessary to obtain an accountant’s report on the value of the business. The ombudsman decided that the firm should pay Mr W £500 compensation for this poor service. Mr W rejected the ombudsman’s decision.