Professional negligence case leads to £42,500 settlement

An 88-year-old woman from Birmingham has settled a professional negligence case against QualitySolicitors Silks after she alleged they failed to advise her correctly in relation to a trust.

Louisa Collins received a five-figure settlement from QualitySolicitors Silks. She had entered into an estate planning arrangement involving her property being placed into a trust in February 2000.

One of Louisa’s sons very sadly passed away in June 2012, quite unexpectedly. The effect of the trust meant that his share of the property then passed to his widow, instead of passing back to Louisa, or her surviving son. It was never Louisa’s intention that the widow would inherit her share of the property, and in fact to the contrary they had never got on well. 

While Louisa had not anticipated one of her sons passing away before her, QualitySolicitors Silks ought to have advised in relation to this potential consequence. They could have set up the trust in such a way to avoid this happening, or could have ensured that both of the sons were advised to Will their share of the property to each other, or back to Louisa. Louisa was not given this advice and was not made aware of the risks.

Louisa therefore instructed Stephensons Solicitors LLP to act for her in a professional negligence claim against the solicitors. Stephensons argued that by failing to advise of the risks of the trust, the solicitors failed in their duty of care and were negligent. The claim settled before Court proceedings were started, and the solicitors agreed to pay £42,500 in damages to Louisa, plus her legal costs.

Louisa Collins said: “I was deeply affected and distressed when the problem first arose, and Heather and her team at Stephensons did everything they could to make the process as easy as possible. Heather got me a great result, without me having the stress of Court proceedings at my age and with my poor health, and I am delighted.

“I would recommend Stephensons to anyone for help with a professional negligence claim.”

Heather Korwin-Szymanowska, associate solicitor at Stephensons, said: “It is a great result for Louisa and even better to have been able to resolve the case without having to go to Court. Court proceedings should always be the last resort, and in this case engaging in negotiations managed to achieve the best result for the client.

“Solicitors do not always get things right and sometimes even if something went wrong a long time ago, but has only recently been discovered, you may still be able to bring a claim. However, it is important to get early specialist legal advice if you think you have a professional negligence claim, as the time limits are very strict.”

ENDS

About Stephensons

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Media information:       Lianne Tracey and Chloe Kendall

                                    Stephensons Solicitors LLP

                                    Tel: 01942 774225 or 01942 774054

                                    Email: lct@stephensons.co.uk or cke@stephensons.co.uk