JMW Solicitor’s successful resolution of clients’ lost inheritance claim caused by solicitor’s negligence when drafting Will

JMW's Contentious Trusts and Probate team has helped two sisters to secure an excellent result in a lost inheritance claim in respect of their late mother’s interest in a jointly owned property arising out of negligence by the solicitors who drafted their late mother’s Will.

Our specialist Contentious Trusts and Probate team were instructed by two sisters who had been left a 50% share in a property that their late mother owned with her husband (not their father).

On investigation, it became clear the solicitors who had prepared their late mother’s Will had failed to check how the property was legally owned. It transpired that both their late mother and her husband had instructed their conveyancing solicitors that the property was to be held as tenants in common but when registering the property the conveyancing solicitors incorrectly registered them as joint tenants meaning their late mother’s 50% interest in the property passed by way of Survivorship to her husband and not as per her wishes stated under her will (namely to her daughters upon her death). As a consequence, the gift of a 50% interest in the property to our clients failed and other than some pieces of jewellery our clients were disinherited.

We carefully considered the position and obtained a copy of the original conveyancing file to ascertain the instructions provided by the late mother and her husband regarding how the property was to be held. Once confirmed we advised our clients of their professional negligence claim on the basis they were beneficiaries who would have inherited under the late mother’s will had the solicitors preparing the late mother’s Will checked that the property was held as tenants in common and therefore the 50% intended to pass to our clients could pass under the terms of the Will.

A letter of claim was sent to the solicitors who prepared the will and with a view to exploring the possibility of a negotiated settlement, we approached the late mother’s husband to see if a resolution could be achieved. As a result of those negotiations, he agreed to enter into a declaration that provided for him to retain a life interest in the property and on his death the late mother’s 50% share of the property would pass to our clients in equal shares i.e. they would each receive a 25% interest in the property as had been originally intended by their late mother’s will. We were also able to secure payment towards our clients’ costs from the solicitors that prepared the will despite them refuting any claim of negligence and costs not being recoverable on the basis our clients’ loss had been mitigated.

To speak to one of our contentious probate solicitors about challenging a will or any other issue relating to a will dispute or a claim on an estate, get in touch with JMW today. Simply call us on 0345 872 6666 or fill in our online enquiry form to request a callback.

Alison Parry
Partner
Will and Trust Disputes
Claire Brierley
Associate Solicitor
Will and Trust Disputes
Ben Wilson
Partner
Will and Trust Disputes

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