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Private Wealth & Wills & Succession Planning

Lawyer legacy leaves large litigation liability

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It (should) be well-trodden practice for solicitors to advise their clients to seek independent legal advice should the client wish to benefit that lawyer under their Will.

This ruling demonstrates the need to consider this best practice more widely than perhaps previously thought. The client in question had been advised to take independent legal advice the first time the Will was prepared, however on each subsequent revision (and particularly where the amount of the legacy increased), the solicitor had not done so.

The tribunal also found that it was not sufficient for the solicitor in question to believe that the ‘independent’ advice sought was truly independent. The SRA rules were applied in this instance in an objective manner and the two advisers were found to be too closely connected. The standard to be achieved was that of an ordinary person.

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/honest-mistake-dishonesty-ruled-out-over-wills-gifts-to-solicitor/

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Aidan Grant

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