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  • FIRST POST
    • fifilafluff
    • By fifilafluff 8th Oct 17, 10:23 PM
    • 15Posts
    • 2Thanks
    fifilafluff
    Wills - solicitors taking 12 months - please help
    • #1
    • 8th Oct 17, 10:23 PM
    Wills - solicitors taking 12 months - please help 8th Oct 17 at 10:23 PM
    Hello,

    I hope I am posting this in the correct place. Apologies if not (feel free to point to the right place).

    Last year, in November when the the last Will Aid offer came up, my husband and I used the offer and paid the £150 to go to a solicitor to get a joint Will drawn up (we had recently had our first child).

    We met with the solicitor for an hour and about a month later were emailed a draft of the Wills. We had a few small amendments that I swiftly emailed back. Since then, we have had absolutely no contact from the solicitor or the associate who is drawing up the Wills. I emailed regularly then turned to phoning, followed by more emails, but no one has ever gotten back to me and I have never gotten past the secretary when I have phoned. She has always said she will pass my messages on but no one ever phones me back. It's frustrating as I made 4 small track changes that would take 5 minutes to accept and get this finished. It's been almost a year since the initial meeting and and it's really bothering me that it's not sorted. I am now due to have our second child in a month and really want our Wills properly in place.

    Can anyone advise what to do? I have a draft of the Wills that they emailed me (before I made the few small changes). Could I just use this to do a DIY will? Should I keep on the them, or would I be fighting a losing battle? I don't think the solicitors firm will ever get back to me. I got the impression we were small-fry when we went for our meeting with them.

    Thank you very much for your help.
    fifila fluff

Page 1
    • Yorkshireman99
    • By Yorkshireman99 8th Oct 17, 10:27 PM
    • 3,371 Posts
    • 2,734 Thanks
    Yorkshireman99
    • #2
    • 8th Oct 17, 10:27 PM
    • #2
    • 8th Oct 17, 10:27 PM
    Hello,

    I hope I am posting this in the correct place. Apologies if not (feel free to point to the right place).

    Last year, in November when the the last Will Aid offer came up, my husband and I used the offer and paid the £150 to go to a solicitor to get a joint Will drawn up (we had recently had our first child).

    We met with the solicitor for an hour and about a month later were emailed a draft of the Wills. We had a few small amendments that I swiftly emailed back. Since then, we have had absolutely no contact from the solicitor or the associate who is drawing up the Wills. I emailed regularly then turned to phoning, followed by more emails, but no one has ever gotten back to me and I have never gotten past the secretary when I have phoned. She has always said she will pass my messages on but no one ever phones me back. It's frustrating as I made 4 small track changes that would take 5 minutes to accept and get this finished. It's been almost a year since the initial meeting and and it's really bothering me that it's not sorted. I am now due to have our second child in a month and really want our Wills properly in place.

    Can anyone advise what to do? I have a draft of the Wills that they emailed me (before I made the few small changes). Could I just use this to do a DIY will? Should I keep on the them, or would I be fighting a losing battle? I don't think the solicitors firm will ever get back to me. I got the impression we were small-fry when we went for our meeting with them.

    Thank you very much for your help.
    Originally posted by fifilafluff
    Phone and ask about making a formal complaint.
    • gettingtheresometime
    • By gettingtheresometime 9th Oct 17, 12:30 AM
    • 3,130 Posts
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    gettingtheresometime
    • #3
    • 9th Oct 17, 12:30 AM
    • #3
    • 9th Oct 17, 12:30 AM
    As you're now expecting another child, do these wills take into account subsequent children being born?

    I'm just thinking that they may be out of date as so long has passed
    Lloyds OD / Natwest OD / PO CC / Wescott / Argos Card cleared thanks to the 1 debt v 100 day challenge


    Next on the list - JD Williams
    • FreeBear
    • By FreeBear 9th Oct 17, 12:36 AM
    • 1,394 Posts
    • 1,997 Thanks
    FreeBear
    • #4
    • 9th Oct 17, 12:36 AM
    • #4
    • 9th Oct 17, 12:36 AM
    Phone and ask about making a formal complaint.
    Originally posted by Yorkshireman99
    Most certainly make a complaint. A will shouldn't take months to draw up.. Mine (all be it a fairly simple one) took a couple of weeks to draft along with some edits. When i went in to sign it, there were still a couple of minor changes needed, but these were dealt with in minutes.
    Her courage will change the world.

    Treasure the moments that you have. Savour them for as long as you can for they will never come back again.
    • Tom99
    • By Tom99 9th Oct 17, 2:52 AM
    • 669 Posts
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    Tom99
    • #5
    • 9th Oct 17, 2:52 AM
    • #5
    • 9th Oct 17, 2:52 AM
    If you have already agreed the wording you need, then type it out yourself and save £150 unless you have already paid them.
    • fifilafluff
    • By fifilafluff 9th Oct 17, 8:05 AM
    • 15 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    fifilafluff
    • #6
    • 9th Oct 17, 8:05 AM
    • #6
    • 9th Oct 17, 8:05 AM
    Thank you for your replies. It's reassuring to know that I am not being unreasonable to have expected the Wills to be sorted by now. The wording in the Wills is that our estate will be shared equally amongst daughter 1 and any subsequent children (or something to that effect) so i don't think it matters that our second child won't be named explicitly. I did wonder the same and maybe as we are so close to the birth it might be worth waiting and getting him/her named.

    I know I need to ring them again but the thought actually fills me with dread now. The secretary is very good at making me feel very insignificant and this is only enhanced when no one ever gets back to me. I will pluck up the courage to phone and will mention making a complaint and see if that spurs them into any sort of action.

    I was also thinking of contacting Will Aid. I wouldn't expect any money back (we've already paid) as it's a charity, however I don't think this particular firm should be allowed to sign up to the scheme in the future if they do not have the capacity to actually complete the Wills for people.

    I do have all the wording. In the interim, while I try to get the proper Wills sorted, do you think if we printed and signed the drafts (taking off the draft watermark) they would stand up legally?

    Thank you again.
    fifila fluff

    • Tom99
    • By Tom99 9th Oct 17, 8:33 AM
    • 669 Posts
    • 401 Thanks
    Tom99
    • #7
    • 9th Oct 17, 8:33 AM
    • #7
    • 9th Oct 17, 8:33 AM

    I do have all the wording. In the interim, while I try to get the proper Wills sorted, do you think if we printed and signed the drafts (taking off the draft watermark) they would stand up legally?

    Thank you again.
    Originally posted by fifilafluff
    I followed my will, drafted by a solicitor, for my mother. It only ran to a single sheet of A4 but was fine and probate was obtained without any trouble.

    Remember to date the will and two witnesses
    • Margot123
    • By Margot123 9th Oct 17, 8:43 AM
    • 297 Posts
    • 261 Thanks
    Margot123
    • #8
    • 9th Oct 17, 8:43 AM
    • #8
    • 9th Oct 17, 8:43 AM
    Do you have a written agreement (retainer) with the solicitor? It should state timeframes, expectations etc.
    Give them a call and ask who you make a formal written complaint to at the partnership. This simple request might stir them into action, as any receptionist worth their salt would ask why you are complaining.
    • poppystar
    • By poppystar 9th Oct 17, 9:35 AM
    • 290 Posts
    • 1,010 Thanks
    poppystar
    • #9
    • 9th Oct 17, 9:35 AM
    • #9
    • 9th Oct 17, 9:35 AM
    I was also thinking of contacting Will Aid. I wouldn't expect any money back (we've already paid) as it's a charity, however I don't think this particular firm should be allowed to sign up to the scheme in the future if they do not have the capacity to actually complete the Wills for people.
    Originally posted by fifilafluff

    I would contact them especially as you paid in advance. Did they receive the money even?

    Did you get a receipt? I'm fairly sure that I got a receipt from Will Aid, albeit dispensed by the solicitor. I also only paid after I had the will signed and witnessed, I was never asked for any money up front.
    • Robin9
    • By Robin9 9th Oct 17, 10:24 AM
    • 1,954 Posts
    • 1,264 Thanks
    Robin9
    As its Will Aid time again is this firm on this years list ?
    Never pay on an estimated bill
    • fifilafluff
    • By fifilafluff 9th Oct 17, 10:58 AM
    • 15 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    fifilafluff
    Hi,

    Yes, this solicitors firm is again on the list this year (happy to PM anyone who would like to avoid it). I have contacted Will Aid to explain what has happened and my concerns about them being on the list given that they seen to be unable to complete the work they are offering.

    How it worked with Will Aid last year was that you make the payment (donation) directly to Will Aid and then take the receipt to the first solicitors appointment. I followed the Will Aid instructions which was to pay prior to the appointment and prior to actually receiving the completed wills. The solicitors don't actually receive any money themselves for taking part but I guess it's a way for them to drum up business and to be seen to be doing something good. I think this is partly why I am hating chasing them so much, as I don't feel like a 'proper' customer. I still have the Will Aid receipt so can prove that we have paid.

    Thank you.
    fifila fluff

    • fifilafluff
    • By fifilafluff 9th Oct 17, 11:02 AM
    • 15 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    fifilafluff
    P.S no there was no written agreement/retainer signed. We should have thought about this at the time as we've done this before with our conveyancing solicitors, but we just followed their lead and it didn't happen. Won't be making that mistake again!
    fifila fluff

    • pattycake
    • By pattycake 9th Oct 17, 1:27 PM
    • 1,182 Posts
    • 985 Thanks
    pattycake
    The time frame is ludicrous. When we made our mirror wills, the draft was emailed to us THE SAME DAY. There were a couple of minor amendments and we returned to the solicitor's office to sign later the same week. On the second occasion we were dealt with by the secretary as there was no need to involve the solicitor. It was just signing and witnessing.

    This was not using Will Aid but the costs were not significantly more than you have paid.
    • loulou41
    • By loulou41 9th Oct 17, 8:10 PM
    • 2,641 Posts
    • 170 Thanks
    loulou41
    My daughter used will aid she was sent the draft for approval. She had to go in and get it signed and witnessed. The firm also stored the will for them. It was not a basic will as she had to appoint guardian for her son. I am not sure how much was the donation but it was not more than £200. I would copy the draft and make adjustments as necessary and then print, dated and get it witnessed by two people. If you have been sent the draft by email can't you just do the corrections online and then print.
    • Tom99
    • By Tom99 9th Oct 17, 10:57 PM
    • 669 Posts
    • 401 Thanks
    Tom99
    My daughter used will aid she was sent the draft for approval. She had to go in and get it signed and witnessed. The firm also stored the will for them. It was not a basic will as she had to appoint guardian for her son. I am not sure how much was the donation but it was not more than £200. I would copy the draft and make adjustments as necessary and then print, dated and get it witnessed by two people. If you have been sent the draft by email can't you just do the corrections online and then print.
    Originally posted by loulou41
    If you have been sent the draft as a locked .pdf file you can usually convert it the a Word document using one of the online tools eg:-

    https://www.online-convert.com/
    • fifilafluff
    • By fifilafluff 11th Oct 17, 10:05 PM
    • 15 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    fifilafluff
    Thank you for the replies.

    I contacted Will Aid and they responded very swiftly and have contacted the solicitors to see what has happened. They said that this particular firm has raised a lot of money fro them over the years and they feel sure it must be an administrative error (not sure I agree). They have said someone from the firm will contact me shortly and, if not, to get back in touch with them.

    In the meantime, I'm going to amend and print the the drafts I have and sign in the presence of witnesses.

    Thank you for your help. I will keep you posted with what happens.
    fifila fluff

    • Margot123
    • By Margot123 12th Oct 17, 8:42 AM
    • 297 Posts
    • 261 Thanks
    Margot123
    Wouldn't it have been simpler, and quicker to have drawn up a new will with a different solicitor? If you have no faith in the one you previously used, how are they going to be when 'the time comes'? Start adding your own amendments, and that will only add to problems. I know you would loose out on the payment but it would be worth it.
    • fifilafluff
    • By fifilafluff 12th Oct 17, 12:50 PM
    • 15 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    fifilafluff
    Yes, we did consider this ... but really, we shouldn't have to.
    By amendments I don't mean wording, just changing the percentages/distribution of a few things.
    We regularly use another solicitors firm for conveyancing and business work (I wish we'd gone with them for this as they are really excellent, however they are no longer local to us). We'll be asking them to check and store the Wills. You're right, I absolutely do not Trust the firm we used through Will Aid for when the 'time comes'.
    fifila fluff

    • TBagpuss
    • By TBagpuss 12th Oct 17, 1:09 PM
    • 6,084 Posts
    • 7,832 Thanks
    TBagpuss
    Write and make a formal complaint.
    I'd suggest including a time line showing the dates you attended, the dates of any letters or e-mails etc.
    Ask that they make the amendments requested and do forward the wiils to you to sign within the next 14 days.

    Look on their website (if they have one) and send the complaint to the head of the Private Client department (if they are identified) or to the Senior Partner (if identified)

    Even though you were doing the will via will aid and were donating to charity rather than paying them directly they still have an obligation to act professionally and you would be entitled to contact the Legal Ombudsman if they don't respond to you complaint.

    Keep a copy of the letter you send them.

    In the letter, be clear about what you want (I'd suggest that you ask for an apology, for the wills to be finalised and returned within 14 days and perhaps to say specifically that if they do not respond within the timescale you've given, that you will be making arrangements to instruct another solicitor and will look to them to cover the costs incurred in doing so.

    My guess is that either the person you saw has since left, or that they closed the file when they should not have done so, but that is no excuse for them to not complete the work.
    • Margot123
    • By Margot123 12th Oct 17, 1:36 PM
    • 297 Posts
    • 261 Thanks
    Margot123
    Yes, we did consider this ... but really, we shouldn't have to.
    By amendments I don't mean wording, just changing the percentages/distribution of a few things.
    We regularly use another solicitors firm for conveyancing and business work (I wish we'd gone with them for this as they are really excellent, however they are no longer local to us). We'll be asking them to check and store the Wills. You're right, I absolutely do not Trust the firm we used through Will Aid for when the 'time comes'.
    Originally posted by fifilafluff
    It's not really a question of 'shouldn't really have to'. Actually you need to address the issue of not having a will reflecting your wishes.
    It would cost c. £120-£200 for another solicitor to draw you up a will within a couple of weeks at the most.
    Think of the worst case scenario: you have a stroke, get run over, suddenly drop dead! Being stubborn over the Will Aid will won't help. Sorry to be blunt but that is reality.
    A friend of mine had no will as he was under 40, apparently healthy and didn't think anything would happen to him, he suffered a massive heart attack and died within days. The rest you can imagine.........
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