Hello there,I need some advice on the conduct of a solicitor, hopefully you can advise me.My parents were married for 59 years and had three sons, myself being the eldest. My father died aged 94 just after Christmas 2010. My mothe,r in her 80's, received a letter yesterday from Glasgow solicitors referring to my father. They had been consulted by an individual claiming to be the son of my father. They then went on to request if she could confirm my father's death and advise them of the name of the solicitors who acted in my late Father's estate.My mother now lives on her own and was totally unaware of any possibility of my father possibly having another offspring. She is devastated and very distraught about the contents of this letter.On contacting the solicitors by telephone, they informed me that this individual walked into their office last week and asked them to action his request. He had no evidence to support his claim, but stated that he has got a birth certificate with my father's name on it.Personally I am very annoyed at the way these solicitors have approached this request from their client.My question to you is this: Do you think it is ethical of the solicitors sending the above mentioned letter directly to my mother? Bearing in mind the potential upsetting and damaging consequences of its contents, and if so, what can we do about it?I look forward to your response.Many thanks.EJ, Argyll
Province/Country relating to question : Argyll, Scotland
Contacting the solicitors by telephone. They stated that their client is not interested in contacting family members, only in the issue of possible inheritance. They are now asking him to provide evidence of his claim by producing his birth certificate.
Thank you for your question.Whilst the letter was clearly upsetting for your mother, and whilst you will not like the answer I am going to give, the solicitors have not acted in any way incorrectly as regards XXXXX XXXXX or conduct.They took instructions from their client to obtain information about someone he alleges is his father. They are then instructed to write to your mother which they do in the absence of any information as to who the executors of the estate are.The letter should be passed to the executors for them to deal with via their own solicitors.I know that you and your mother feel upset about this but there is no conduct issue on the part of the solicitors.I hope this helps. Please press ACCEPT so that I am credited for my time.
To fully expand on the wording of the letter received by my Mother; the solicitors actually stated that this individual "is" the son of my father. Not "claims" to be. This is without viewing any evidence to support their clients claim. Surely this is a rather premature statement for the initial contact and enquiry considering the gravity of the situation? - Does this make any difference to the original issue?
No, as they are acting on instructions. It is not for them to do anything else. They are simply conveying what their client wishes to say and are acting as agents for a disclosed principal.As such they are not guilty of any misconduct.
27 years as a practising solicitor.
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