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  • Legal FAQs

    How do I manage a solicitor?

    I am at the tail end of receiving an inheritance from a trust, where I am the sole beneficiary. The property and the funds were due to be released in June 2018.

    Due to a rather lengthy eviction (in part due to inaction by the trustees) the release of the funds was delayed until possession of the property was gained. It was always my intention to sell the property, which went reasonably smoothly with only a few delays from the trustees, and completed in January 2019. The trustees had decided to hold the trust funds until completion, when the funds from the sale of the property were released but not the funds from the trust account.

    I have requested clarification on the process, timescales, etc on several occasions over the past few years, but have never received a committed response. It has been made clear that as I am the beneficiary, and my late father was the settlor, the trustees are acting on his instruction, not mine. (This did seem to change when the property was sold and they acted on my instruction to sell).

    I have sent a formal complaint on 01/04/19 to the trustee/director, but have yet received no confirmation or reply. The trustee has never previously responded to my emails, this is only the fourth, but I usually get a response from someone else, sometimes months later.

    I'm thankful that I have received the funds from the sale of the property and put them to good use, but how do I deal with the lack of response from the trustee?

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    I don’t have the full answer on this but BBC Money Box on Radio 4 this afternoon ‘The cost of winding up someone’s affairs after they die’ certainly shed light on the responsibilities and liabilities of trustees and executors. It could well be that the trustees are unwilling to release anything until they are 100% sure they are releasing funds or assets to the correct party and that they personally will not be liable should HMRC or someone else come forward in the future with a claim.

    listen to the programme - it’s on podcast now.

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    It was an interesting podcast and it doesn't reflect well on the legal profession. Time shouldn't be an issue in my case as my father died 5 years ago and the trust was set up with a fixed end date. The issue appears to be around getting the trustees to do what they have already paid themselves to do.


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    But if you really want to shake the buggers up, go straight to the Solicitors Regulation Authority and complain. It’s really easy to do so via their website and they’re gunning for dodgy solicitors who might be bending the rules to their own ends. It was a complaint to the SRA that got bent property solicitor Mike Alexander of Chelmsford Essex struck off. And they went on and bankrupted him after strike off to make sure he didn’t make a comeback. So any solicitor will likely respond without further delay if they hear from the SRA.

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    Interesting. The solicitor's complaint policy refers to the Legal Ombudsman, but this is if I am not satisfied with their resolution, which suggests if they continue to do nothing I have no cause for complaint.

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