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Can any solicitors give advise regarding a solicitor who wont communicate!

(9 Posts)
kath6144 Wed 22-Jun-16 19:12:57

Wonder if there are any solicitors out there who can advise if this is normal re -communication, or lack of? Sorry this is long...

My bachelor cousin died last year, beneficiaries were 9 of his cousins' children, executors were a firm of solicitors with links to the family. The estate was finalised earlier this year, my daughter (16) is the only beneficiary still under 18.

Original solicitor went on maternity leave before xmas and her role was taken over by a stand-in, from what I can gather.

He wrote to me in February, suggesting we meet to discuss my daughter's money and how it would be managed over next 2 yrs. I had just lost my mum, so was back in home town (where solicitors based) and went and met him. He suggested my husband and I take over as trustees, in place of the solicitors.

We eventually took her to meet him (2hr drive after school one Friday) in May, as nothing could happen until he met her and she gave her blessing for us to be trustees. At the end of that meeting, he told us to open an account, to hold the money in trust initially, and he would raise the paperwork to change the trustee names.

That was 7 weeks ago. We have heard nothing. We struggled to communicate with him earlier in the year, but he seems to have just got a lot worse.

He just doesn't respond to emails (both recent and before our May meeting), we have left a number of messages with his secretary and on voicemail (no response). We know he has had a holiday since we met, but all I am asking is for a progress report. Has he still to raise the paperwork, has he raised it but awaiting the existing trustees to sign it? A quick email or phone call to tell us where he is at, but that seems too much to ask. We told him we had opened the account, via email, as soon as we had done it, so he is not waiting for us.

I don't want to get heavy handed and go higher up to a partner, but on the other hand, my daughter's money is sat in their client account, earning a pittance. Not managed by either the existing trustees or by ourselves. They suggested we take over as trustees, not us.

I know not all solicitors are like this, the original lady rang to update me when an interim payment was made a year ago, telling me what would happen to my kids' interim payments (DS was still under 18 at time, but has since turned 18 and got full payment, albeit after some chasing).

Can anyone give advise, is this normal behaviour, am I expecting to much? I am not strictly the Client, but am acting on behalf of my daughter.

Should I just give up, and let them manage it for next 2 years. But even that isnt happening, we just seem to have reached an impasse.

MrsBertBibby Wed 22-Jun-16 19:20:04

You need to complain. Write in, head it "complaint" so they can't miss it, address it to the complaints partner.

That should escalate it so you get action.

If you don't, then write to the Legal Ombudsman.

MrsBertBibby Wed 22-Jun-16 19:21:41

It is pretty normal, but it isn't acceptable. We are often pretty shit. Normally because we're drowning, stressed and panicking, but that's not your problem.

kath6144 Wed 22-Jun-16 19:25:45

Thanks, I just wasn't sure if that was too heavy handed, and how long I should give him - I know he has been on holiday, but 7 weeks without any communication?

He was nice enough when we met, but I think he is probably one of those solicitors that likes the legal side more than contacting people.

sohackedoff Wed 22-Jun-16 19:30:16

I would write giving 7 days for them to respond failing which you will escalate it to a complaint. Send it by registered post
Ask for a further copy of their complaints policy or procedure.

kath6144 Wed 22-Jun-16 19:35:10

I have never seen a copy of complaints policy, as we were not the 'original' client, my late cousin was. Our dealings have followed on from the work on his estate.

I am due to go and do a final clearance on mums house in next week or so, so that will be an opportunity to hand deliver a complaints letter. I sent him another email today, so he has got a few days to respond to that, which I doubt he will. His secretary told my DH last Monday, 'he is just back off holiday, he should respond this week'.

Should I ring and ask for the name of the complaints partner, or just address it to 'complaints partner'?

MrsBertBibby Wed 22-Jun-16 19:48:44

Complaints partner is fine.

If his secretary is helpful, tell her how frustrated you are. My best secretaries have always been great at wielding the big stick when they know someone's getting cross.

kath6144 Wed 22-Jun-16 19:56:30

Thanks. My email today went late afternoon, I am away next 2 days, but will have email access, so DH will ring them on Friday and put pressure on secretary, see if he can speak to him direct. He managed it once, hence getting the meeting organised.

What annoys us is that the pressure for the meeting came from him, 'need to do it ASAP, get the trust sorted etc' - despite May not being particularly convenient for my DD, who was about to start GCSEs.

It is interesting, I have been dealing with the solicitors directly across road from them, a smaller firm, initially for my mums PoA, then picking up her will, then house sale. The difference is stark, they actually communicate with me.

kath6144 Mon 04-Jul-16 07:59:13

Just wanted to give an update, for those who gave me advise, esp MrsBertBibby

My husband called the office on Friday 24th and spoke to the secretary, telling her we were close to an official complaint. She said she had been away and would speak to solicitor on the Monday. Lo and behold, an email came on the Monday, apologising for the delay and saying that the draft transfer deed would be with us in a few days.

It came Weds, via email, we confirmed it was fine Thurs am, and the actual deed came via post on Saturday. It is signed, witnessed and ready to go back today, along with an email to solicitor confirming details of bank account we have set up. Hoping it wont be too long before money arrives in the account, but we will see!

Thanks for everyone's advise, I would have formally complained if I had heard nothing by early last week.

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