Area of law: Wills and probate
Complaint reason(s): Costs excessive
Remedy: Apologise, to pay compensation inconvenience/distress caused
Outcome: Ombudsman decision accepted by complainant
Miss Y was enrolling at university. Her aunty had left her and her sister money in her will after she passed away in 2003, her wish was to have her nieces’ inheritance invested in the stock market to gather interest. Miss Y planned to pay her university fees with her share of the inheritance. During the administration of the trust, the firm increased the fees by 350% over two years. The firm later claimed that this was due to the need to complete two sets of accounts in the two-year period after Miss Y turned 18 but she was unaware of this until her father attended a final meeting with the firm when her sister turned 18.
Miss Y claimed that the solicitors failed to explain the full consequences of her share in the trust and the effect of the increase in their costs. The firm claims that Miss Y’s father had instructed them to remove all of her portion of the trust, which he denies. The firm then retained a large percentage of Miss Y’s trust fund as cash. This meant that a large portion of the trust was not invested into the stock market, meaning that the value decreased by nearly £30,000 in six years.
Miss Y’s father wanted a refund of over £9,000 to be paid into the trust to reflect the interest they had lost.
During our investigation we found that the firm had failed to explain the fees properly to Miss Y’s.
The ombudsman decided that the firm should pay £400 compensation to be split equally between Miss Y and her sister. Miss Y accepted this decision.