Overview

You rely on professionals to do things right. But if something goes wrong, what can you do? Whether you’ve been left out because of a poorly drawn up will, have suffered a financial loss because of poor tax or estate advice or the terms of a trust don’t make sense, we can help.

We advise on all claims involving professional negligence in wills, trusts and estates, including:

  • poorly drafted wills or professional negligence claims against will-writers for delays, often known as “White v Jones claims” after the House of Lords decision in White v Jones [1995] UKHL 5;
  • poorly drafted trusts;
  • negligent probate advice;
  • negligent tax advice; or
  • any other matter involving professional negligence in wills, trusts or estates.

Key contact

Roman is a partner and head of the contested wills, trusts and estates team. He advises across the whole spectrum of private client litigation, with a particular focus on high value, complex and cross-border disputes including: trust disputes, breach of trust claims and applications to remove trustees; will disputes, particularly those with an international element; claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975; and claims for equitable relief under proprietary estoppel, constructive trusts and resulting trusts.Roman is responsible for formulating and implementing the department’s business strategy and day-to-day operations, in line with the firm’s overall strategy, alongside running a core caseload of complex, high value and cross-border will, trust and estate disputes.

View team

Our experience in professional negligence in wills, trusts and estates claims

Hugh James secures settlement for beneficiary who was left out of will due to delays by the will writer

 

Roman Kubiak acted for the successful beneficiary in a claim against a firm of solicitors who had delayed in preparing a will for her elderly relative.

The elderly woman had wanted to leave a substantial legacy to our client and had instructed solicitors to make amendments to her previous will. Despite being aware of her frailty, the solicitors unreasonably delayed finalising the will such that, without our intervention the client would not have received her inheritance.

We acted on a no win, no fee basis and were able to secure a positive settlement for our client which avoided the need to go to court whilst also securing her a substantial share of her relative’s estate.

Hugh James successfully recovers £122,500 against solicitors for missing deadline to claim NHS continuing care

 

We acted for the litigation friend of a claimant whose solicitors had missed the deadlines for her to claim NHS Continuing Health Care.

We issued court proceedings and were able to secure a settlement to our client of £122,500.

Hugh James defends professional negligence will claim

 

In addition to acting for people claiming professional negligence in wills, trusts and estates we are also regularly instructed by leading financial institutions, law firms and trust and probate companies who are faced with such claims.

We recently acted for a will writing company who were accused of drafting a will negligently. We were able to demonstrate that our client had not been negligent and that the claim was seriously flawed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you offer free consultations?

 

Yes. We offer a free 20 minute telephone consultation.

Do you offer “no win, no fee” agreements?

 

In many cases we’re able to offer a range of flexible pricing options including “no win, no fee” agreements, fixed fees and deferred payment arrangements depending on each case.

Some cases may also be suitable for “After the Event” insurance funding which provide cover for the cost of disbursements such as court and expert fees as well as protecting you from any potential adverse costs order.

How quickly can my claim for professional negligence in a will, trust or estate be deal with?

 

Each case is unique and so how quickly your case might be resolved depends on the particular circumstances. However, with one of the largest professional negligence wills, trusts and estates teams in the UK, with over 50 years’ experience and with recognised leaders in the field, we pride ourselves on being able to resolve your claim as quickly as possible.

Are there time limits for professional negligence in wills, trusts or estates?

 

Generally speaking, a claim for professional negligence in wills, trusts or estates must be brought within six years from the date on which the “cause of action” arises, usually either the date from which any loss as a result of any negligent advice arose or the date that the negligent action or advice took place.

In the case of professional negligence in wills, this will often be the date of death. In the case of a trust or estate this will often, though not always, be the date that the negligent advice led to a financial loss.

This six year time limit can, however, be subject to a further extension where the person affected did not know of the negligence alleged or where they didn’t have the right to bring a claim, for instance because they were a mino. In such a case, the time limit is generally three years from the date of knowledge or turning 18.

However, in such cases there is a general long stop of 15 years within which to bring a claim.

Finally, the time limit can also be extended by a further six years if the facts relevant to the claim had been deliberately concealed.

Our experience in negligently drafted wills and trust and estate advice means that we’re able to act quickly.

Is my professional negligence claim suitable for mediation?

 

Mediation is a form of dispute resolution in which an independent person, known as a mediator, works with the parties to try to negotiate a settlement. Mediations are usually carried out on a ‘without prejudice’ basis so that anything discussed at mediation cannot disclosed to the court.

The usual format involves each “side” having their own, private room. The mediator’s job is to work with the lawyers to try to achieve a positive settlement for all parties.

Although not suitable for every case, mediations do have a high success rate of settlement. Our experience and knowledge of professional negligence claims means that we have secured excellent results for our clients at mediation.

Business news, knowledge and insight