Area of law: Will writing
Complaint reason(s): Conduct; failure to follow instructions;
Remedy: No remedy
Outcome: Ombudsman decision rejected by complainant
Mrs O contacted the firm because she wanted to have a new will drawn up. The solicitor visited Mrs O at her house, and they talked through the process of changing her will. They explained they would need some medical information to ensure that she had the capacity to change her will. The solicitor also asked her to include a note explaining why she was making the changes and they didn’t want to cause any disputes later on.
Mrs O was sent the draft copy of the will and was told to return it with any changes she wanted to make. She felt that the process had become too complicated and stressful. The solicitor had also put himself as an executor, which she didn’t want. She asked the firm to stop acting for her and instructed a new solicitor to finish things off. The firm agreed and sent her their final bill of £120. They explained they could not release her documents until they had received this payment.
Mrs O raised her complaint with the firm, but was unhappy with their response, and so brought the complaint to us. We found that while Mrs O was unhappy with the process, the firm had followed normal procedure and there was no poor service. We felt there had been some confusion relating to who was executor of the will, but as she had only been sent a draft copy, Mrs O had plenty of opportunity to change this. We also felt that the firm were entitled to charge £120 for the work they had carried out, and were within their rights to hold the paperwork until payment had been received. We therefore did not feel any remedy was owed to Mrs O. Mrs O rejected the ombudsman’s decision.