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deed of variation?

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Deaths, Funerals & Probate
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  • orwenorwen Forumite
    194 posts
    Many thanks,
    FreeBear wrote: »

    In any contentious probate claim, there is a clear process that should be adhered to - Although not a formal part of the CPR rules, judges take a dim view if the ACTAPS code is not followed. If you want to read up on the subject, see http://www.actaps.com/draft.cfm - There is a link at the bottom of the page to the ACTAPS code in doc format.

    My solicitor has requested a fully particularised pre-action Protocol Letter of Claim. From what you say this letter is unlikely to appear?
  • FreeBearFreeBear Forumite
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    orwen wrote: »
    My solicitor has requested a fully particularised pre-action Protocol Letter of Claim. From what you say this letter is unlikely to appear?

    If this dispute has been hanging around for five months and no grounds for a claim has been put forward in that time, I suspect nothing more will be heard.

    I have been dealing with an estate and have had a disinherited relative shouting about contesting the will. Have exchanged a few terse letters with his solicitor and have asked on two separate occasions what his grounds were for making a claim. To date, nothing has been received (apart from an abusive card at Christmas). I will draw consolation from the fact that it will have cost him the best part of £500 (if not more), and has gained nothing from the exercise :j
    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.
  • orwenorwen Forumite
    194 posts
    FreeBear wrote: »
    If this dispute has been hanging around for five months and no grounds for a claim has been put forward in that time, I suspect nothing more will be heard.

    I have been dealing with an estate and have had a disinherited relative shouting about contesting the will. Have exchanged a few terse letters with his solicitor and have asked on two separate occasions what his grounds were for making a claim. To date, nothing has been received (apart from an abusive card at Christmas). I will draw consolation from the fact that it will have cost him the best part of £500 (if not more), and has gained nothing from the exercise :j

    Many thanks,

    This makes me feel better, when a lay person is faced with anything to do with law it can be an extremely worrying experience, because the law is a profession overseen by professionals - it's like being driven around in a car, you feel you have no control. It has cost me to contest the threatened action which adds salt to the wound, and I think this was part of the intention in the opposing party going to a solicitor in the first place.

    Having stated the above, the 'professionalism' of the opposing solicitor leaves me lost for words, he either doesn't know the law where wills and probate are concerned, or is pretending he doesn't in order to construct an unlikely argument for his client - who as you say must be paying for this. If nothing more is heard by the end of January I will be suggesting to my solicitor that - as someone else kindly said - they or their solicitor either 'put up or shut up'. They have had more than enough time to put a case together, if they do not but continue to intimidate me with vague threats of legal action, that - after 6 months - is tantamount to harassment I would have thought?

    Thanks again.
  • FreeBearFreeBear Forumite
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    I have had the "the Ilott-v-Mitson case shows that we have grounds for a claim" from a so-called "expert - My response was to go and read all the judgments from the first trial through to the last appeal rather than relying on analysis from the Daily Mail. Also included a long list of other cases for him to read up on before responding.

    What some of these solicitors seem to forget is much of the case law they seek to depend on is freely available via the internet - It is also just as easy to find other rulings that punch holes in their arguments. Admittedly, some of it can be heavy reading, but there are plenty of reviews available of the pivotal cases.

    Bide your time, and once the six months is up, instruct your opponent to **ck off and ignore any further correspondence.
    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.
  • orwenorwen Forumite
    194 posts
    FreeBear wrote: »
    I have had the "the Ilott-v-Mitson case shows that we have grounds for a claim" from a so-called "expert - My response was to go and read all the judgments from the first trial through to the last appeal rather than relying on analysis from the Daily Mail. Also included a long list of other cases for him to read up on before responding.

    What some of these solicitors seem to forget is much of the case law they seek to depend on is freely available via the internet - It is also just as easy to find other rulings that punch holes in their arguments. Admittedly, some of it can be heavy reading, but there are plenty of reviews available of the pivotal cases.

    Bide your time, and once the six months is up, instruct your opponent to **ck off and ignore any further correspondence.

    Many thanks,

    The relative disputing my mother's will has not been left out of it and stands to receive a considerable amount in time (a property value), it's just that the relative wants more. They own a home and are financially independent. It follows that they do not match any of the requirements that I can see in order to invoke the Inheritance Act. Probably realising this they had the solicitor deliver a raft of complaints to me 5 months ago which two sets of solicitors I liaised with described as a 'phishing letter'. However, I have proceeded in accordance with the legal profession and taken the opposing letter seriously, taking professional advice. Myself and my solicitor are still waiting for a formal case to be raised against my late mother's will. I suspect they may try a last ditch attempt to soften me up for an out-of-court settlement. I notice that solicitors are very pro this type of outcome because it is 'less stressful than going to court'. This perplexes me, if there is no sound case in the first place why even contemplate such a settlement? I am relying on my solicitor to blow anything they come at me with out of the water, unless it has genuine validity in the eyes of the law. My solicitor has shown herself to be reasonably 'no nonsense' when push comes to shove. In the 11th hour of this threatened case - which has yet to break - I will be expecting something at least to materialise from the opposition by next week. If not, then I will instruct my solicitor to become proactive, for six months we have been on the defensive and I grow impatient. Nothing would give me greater pleasure than to deliver those seven letters to the opposition's solicitor in light of the phishing letter he sent me, which has caused so much worry at a time when I could have so well done without it. I await the coming week.
  • orwenorwen Forumite
    194 posts
    konark wrote: »
    Solicitors do not work on 'phone calls', they work on written contracts, deeds and letters. If the opposing solicitor had anything worthwhile to contribute it would have been sent in writing. To take on their 'vain hope of getting anything' claim , the other solicitor would be wanting a large deposit up-front (£5,000 min.). If he is truthful when telling them of their chance of winning I doubt your family members would pay this.

    Have just googled the opposing solicitor. His firm is in the Legal 500 it says. What does that say about the Legal 500? He is also described as an expert in 'negligence' and the law. Negligence. We sent him a substantive reply to his original letter - his was written incorrectly - plus an estate account in duplicate. He has neither acknowledged the estate account(s) nor replied to our letter in which we ask him to formulate the opposing side's claim. He then makes a phone call to my solicitor (which they formally logged) suggesting, in my solicitor's own words "draconian" measures against what is now my inherited estate. I then learn from MSE that this action is quite beyond any protocol for the legal profession - that everything should be documented and done in writing. So much for legal negligence and the law. Their solicitor then informed mine that he was 'collecting evidence' for a claim and was in receipt of information from the solicitor who drew up my late mother's Will. I then phoned what is basically the 'family solicitor' who had no knowledge at all of this contact. My current solicitor then wrote to the family solicitor asking the same question of them.

    How would I make a formal complaint about the conduct of this employee to the employer please? They are making a mockery of the legal profession, they are ignoring legal protocol, I have hard copy evidence that letter writing is incompetent and there may be a bogus contact with another solicitor to add to the list?

    Still waiting for a formal response from the other side.

    Thanks.
  • edited 27 January 2016 at 7:30PM
    Yorkshireman99Yorkshireman99 Forumite
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    edited 27 January 2016 at 7:30PM
    It appalls me that there seem to a number of what I can only call "bent" solicitors about. You could always write a polite, but firm, letter of complaint to the senior partner at the firm concerned but I would wait until you have resolved this issue. The SRA may help. sra.org.uk for details.
  • orwenorwen Forumite
    194 posts
    It appals me that there seem to a number of what I can only call "bent" solicitors about. You could always write a polite, but firm, letter of complaint to the senior partner at the firm concerned but I would wait until you have resolved this issue. The SRA may help. sra.org.uk for details.

    Okay thanks. I was also suspicious that neither of the other two solicitors I have been liaising with picked up on the errors in the opposing solicitor's letter to me. I suppose there must be an element of 'protecting the profession' in this context but if so it is wrong, it just guarantees poor practise from certain individuals into the future. My eyebrows further raise on the realisation that bad professionalism is being picked up on in forums like this, when it should be being identified by the professionals themselves - how long have they studied law before they graduate? All I've had is a couple of books on probate from Amazon.

    No one is perfect, but - apart from all the other issues - professionals exacting fees for letter writing ought to be capable of composing such letters in sensible, correct language I would have expected?
  • ukmaggie45ukmaggie45 Forumite
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    Just posting to wish you well. It took us nearly 7 years to sort out my parents' wills, even though they were straightforward and written correctly. At least I didn't have anyone fighting me over them, just an inept solicitor whose partner got struck off (ours should have been too in my view). If you have several hours to while away you can read the whole saga here.

    We did actually do a Deed of Variation after we went with a decent solicitor. Look for a solicitor who is a member of STEP. Of course your situation is very different to ours - we weren't up against anyone other than the tax man! :eek: I mention STEP in case others look at this thread and might find it useful. Not cheap, but fair price for the help we got in our difficult circumstances.

    Anyway orwen, I hope things are more easily sortable for you than they were for us! :)
  • securityguysecurityguy Forumite
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    orwen wrote: »
    how long have they studied law before they graduate?

    Nothing like as long as your rhetorical question implies. A three year law degree isn't the only route into the law, you can do graduate conversion as well, so the alternatives include a three year Law degree (whose relationship to practicing law is tenuous at best) followed by one year in Law College, or doing some arbitrary degree (maths, music, sports science, it doesn't matter) followed by a two year Law College course. So the answer to your question might be "two years, following an indifferent degree in a completely unrelated subject".

    People who earn zillions as high powered commercial solicitors are very smart, but the threshold for becoming a salaried partner in a firm of local solicitors who do probate, conveyancing and the occasional divorce is hardly high, and the work is dull enough (and poorly paid enough) that it hardly attracts the A team.
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