A solicitor messed up my loved one’s estate – what can I do?

Wills and Probate Article - Frustration

When a loved one dies it is a difficult and emotional time. The last thing you need is to feel that somebody who should have been looking after their interests has made errors that have affected their wishes.

Wills and probate is an area of law that is governed by time and procedural requirements. If these are not met then there is a possibility that people who should have benefitted from a will or the administration of an estate miss out, resulting in emotional and financial hardship.

Examples of such errors might include:

  • Errors in drafting a will
    • the will might not properly reflect the wishes of the deceased
    • the will might not have been executed (signed and witnessed) properly
    • the will might have been executed when the testator (person making the will) was ‘not of sound mind’
    • the testator died before the will could be executed
  • Incorrect (or no) tax advice
  • Errors in administering the estate
    • delays in applying for probate
    • failing to follow the terms of the will
    • failing to keep proper documentation of assets and liabilities
    • failing to collect in all monies due to the estate
    • not realising the real value of assets on sale

If a solicitor has made errors then a claim could be brought against them in negligence.

Who can bring a claim in negligence against a solicitor?

A claim can be brought against a solicitor by the client who instructed them (usually the administrator of the estate under the terms of the will or under the rules of intestacy) or someone who should have benefitted from the estate.

When should I act?

In short – as quickly as possible.  There are time limits within which you must bring a claim – 6 years from the negligent event or 3 years from the date you realised negligence had occurred.  Even if the time limit is not nearly up, you will need to give your legal representative as long as possible to build a case before submitting a claim.

How much will it cost?

Bringing a claim in negligence against a solicitor can be very expensive. However, you may be able to proceed under a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA), commonly known as No Win, No Fee. Under a CFA, if you are not successful you will not have to pay legal costs. If successful, the legal representative will normally be paid legal costs by the other side and may be entitled to a success fee which will have been agreed with you in advance.

What should I do next?

Gard & Co are established in the area of solicitor negligence claims and provide a free initial consultation so you can discuss your situation with us without obligation. We could then obtain the relevant papers from the solicitors involved and assess the situation to see if it is possible to proceed on a No Win No Fee basis.

To arrange a free, no obligation consultation please contact Robert on 01752 668246 or send an email by clicking here.

Article Footer image for Robert Butler - Wills and Probate Solicitor