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Solicitor and data breach - what can I do?
20

DueyCheatemAndHow · 04/07/2022 08:59

My parents instructed a solicitor for wills and named me as executor and POA.

I received paperwork on Friday but the names used aren't my parents - they are somebody else.

This means someone else has my parents right?!

I find this really worrying. Mum wants me to see if we can get a refund for the half fees they have paid already but I've no idea where I stand legally.

Thoughts?!

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LordEmsworth · 04/07/2022 09:16

First step is to report the breach of someone else's data; and to ask about your parents' paperwork. It may not have gone anywhere... If it has then you need to think about the implications - what could someone do with that information and what steps do you need to take to inhibit them.

If it has then you (or rather, they, assuming POA not yet in place) can make a complaint and can request compensation for any loss or damage experienced (e.g. cost of checking credit agencies to check for fraud, compensation for fear of being put at risk of identity theft). If you're not happy with the response then you can go to the ICO; but realistically, unless there's something you're not telling us about the contents, a complaint and response would be my expectation - possibly with a small goodwill gesture if the solicitor wants to keep your business. You can state your expectation when you make your complaint of how you expect them to correct it.

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niki26 · 04/07/2022 09:27

Agree with the advice already given.

Why does your mum want you to 'see if you can get refund for half fees'. Surely she is the client and any costs incurred are hers.

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DueyCheatemAndHow · 04/07/2022 09:40

Mum just panics, she makes quixk decisions and then wants to back out.

Who do I report to?

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LordEmsworth · 04/07/2022 09:48

The solicitor! Have you told them yet? They need to know... They can't fix a problem they don't know they have.

You tell them what has happened, they should take appropriate action - which means investigate how it's happened, whether any other clients are affected, and put in place steps to stop it happening again. They don't have to tell you everything that they've done but I would expect "thanks for letting us know, we've investigated and can confirm your details were not shared with others, we've taken steps to address in future".

If your details have been shared then i would want to know who with, when, what details, etc. But anything that's not your details - you have no right to know about I am afraid...

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niki26 · 04/07/2022 09:48

Ah, I understand. Sorry if I've missed something as I'm just skim reading (two ill children here and plumber due any min so rushing about like a headless chicken!) but it obviously needs to be flagged up to the solicitor acting for your parents. Ask them to provide details of their complaints procedure and go from there. You'll probably be dealing with their 'COLP' which is a compliance officer at the firm.

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Ginajo · 04/07/2022 09:51

Contact the solicitor. It doesn't necessarily mean that someone has your parents will. Find out what's happened. It may be a simple error - people do make mistakes. I find it unbelievable that so many people instantly seize upon a mistake as a way of getting money back.

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Badbadbunny · 04/07/2022 10:06

This means someone else has my parents right?!

Not necessarily, could be simply that they've copied from a previous will and simply forgot to change the names to your parents when amending it. You won't know if anyone else has their details until you ask the solicitor.

Even so, I don't think there's any "personal" data as such on a will except for their names and maybe their address, certainly nothing like their dates of birth, national insurance numbers, so in reality little more than "fraudsters" could get from the electoral roll or multitudes of other sources. Obviously depends on what other information is contained in the will as to whether their will, itself, has been accidentally sent to someone else.

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DueyCheatemAndHow · 04/07/2022 10:10

@Ginajo my parents are just scared and nervous with a lot of serious mental health stuff going on. They are the least financially savvy people going, their instinct is to run away hence the money question.

My brother in law passed away this morning and I have our kids but I'll call the solicitor.

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Alltheleavesaregreen1 · 04/07/2022 10:11

I find it unbelievable that so many people instantly seize upon a mistake as a way of getting money back.

This. It’s unfortunate but mistakes do happen and it’s probably a case of working from a precedent and forgetting to change the names. Or some poor admin assistant who has put the letters in the wrong envelope. They have provided you with a service and you should pay for it rather than seizing the opportunity to get a refund.

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DueyCheatemAndHow · 04/07/2022 10:13

Please read my posts. Thanks.

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Badbadbunny · 04/07/2022 11:09

I find it unbelievable that so many people instantly seize upon a mistake as a way of getting money back.

Indeed, sounds like first instinct of the OP was to expect a refund of half the fees, which has nothing at all to do with whatever loss the parents may or may not have suffered, sounds more like a quick excuse to get a fee refund for what could well be a simple and harmless admin mistake.

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DueyCheatemAndHow · 04/07/2022 11:50

I'll bother once more.

I don't wany anything. It's not my money. I'm merely reporting what my mother has asked..

People are absolute dicks on here sometimes.

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minipie · 04/07/2022 12:08

Tell the solicitor.

What the solicitor can do is figure out where your parents’ paperwork went and ask them to return it/destroy any copies.
They will ask you to do the same.

This doesn’t remove all risk I guess but in reality, if someone else has seen your parents’ wills/paperwork, is there any way they could use that information? Almost certainly not I’d imagine. Same as you have no use for the information you’ve received.

I appreciate your mother is anxious, maybe you can help talk her through what she thinks would actually happen to her information, and why it’s unlikely to be a problem.

If she has lost faith in this law firm due to the error, fair enough, she can take her business elsewhere but I would still expect them to have to pay for the work done so far.

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minipie · 04/07/2022 12:10

And yes people on here are dicks sometimes!!

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Swimmingpoolsally · 04/07/2022 12:12

Did you tell them a mistake was made? I’m also surprised at the route taken Ie can we get money back and to start a thread asking the same.

just tell them.

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yikesanotherbooboo · 04/07/2022 12:20

It's a mistake. Contact the solicitor and see where the paperwork is. If it is safely at the office you can then tell DM and see how she wants to proceed.If she has lost confidence you can negotiate costs already incurred.She Weill have to start from scratch elsewhere so this is likely to cost her more overall as an option.

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DueyCheatemAndHow · 04/07/2022 12:37

@minipie thank you.

@yikesanotherbooboo I've tried to explain that to her this morning, we are now all in shock at the loss of my brother in law so frankly this is the last thing I need. I lost patience with my mum cos she was going about some '2 weeks to change your mind' and I tried to explain that the solicitor has already done work and it would be like asking my dad for a refund after he had built half a house (he was a bricklayer). I think she got that, but she is terrible for actually listening.

I'm in the middle of buying a house and just feel totally overwhelmed.

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Polkadotties · 04/07/2022 12:44

OP I would just contact the solicitor, it most likely is a standard document where the names haven’t been amended from the last copy.

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DueyCheatemAndHow · 04/07/2022 12:45

I phoned him this morning, he wasn't available so I asked for him to call me back after 1

He called me twice at 11. The communication isn't brilliant!

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stayingpositiveifpossible · 04/07/2022 12:59

I had this with the Family Court.
I left my abusive husband and had kept my address from him.

I then received a letter. Opened it and it was addressed to him.

Having worked as a secretary before, I sensed what had happened i.e. the admin member of staff had put the wrong letter in the wrong envelope - which meant ex suddenly had my address.

I complained to the court - ex was warned not to use the address by the Court.

This kind of thing, though a human mistake can have very serious consequences.

Yes, I would ask for the money back. The trust in solicitor is gone now. Find another.

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