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liable for father's solicitor's bill?

Discussion in 'Legal and financial issues' started by joggyb, Apr 2, 2015.

  1. joggyb

    joggyb Registered User

    Dec 1, 2014
    119
    I have just received a bill from my dad's solicitor (also mine, for one or two matters). The chargeable events itemised go back to April last year, when my dad visited them - in his confusion, without an appointment - asking about a health and welfare PoA.

    He had already set up a finance and property LPA, naming me and my partner as his attorneys. The LPA was registered in October 2013, but I didn't take over my dad's affairs until he went into care in September 2014.

    My question is - can the solicitor hold me legally responsible for the charges incurred by visits my dad made to them in April 2014, totalling nearly £500?

    Thanks for any help and suggestions
     
  2. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    39,417
    No but your father is. And I suppose that now you have have a registered LPA for your father, it's your responsibility to pay the fees out of your father's assets.
     
  3. joggyb

    joggyb Registered User

    Dec 1, 2014
    119
    That was my thinking, although I'd like to have it absolutely confirmed.

    I have no record or knowledge of his visits to the solicitor. I'm not denying he probably went, but they're charging a lot of money for this when they knew he was already ill and wasn't making sense. It seems to me that they should bear some responsibility.
     
  4. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    39,417
    Well it would be the compassionate thing to do, of course, but I imagine that it did take them some time to deal with him...
     
  5. joggyb

    joggyb Registered User

    Dec 1, 2014
    119
    I agree, and I wouldn't object to that particularly - but for the fact that they told me at a later stage that they had a secretary take him out into reception who sat and had a cup of tea and a chat with him. Essentially, I'm being billed for her time! I do think they could have told me at the time (they had my contact details) and warned me that they would charge, rather than giving me the impression that this was a benevolent kindness-of-the-heart service that they provided.
     
  6. Kevinl

    Kevinl Registered User

    Aug 24, 2013
    4,665
    Salford
    I'd remind them of the circumstances and ask if they still want to charge. It's not as bad as those who knock on someone's door and charge them a fortune for doing some small task in the garden or on the roof but it does (in my view) fall short of being professional. As Jen says probably technically your Dad is liable but morally I think it's a bit off for them to charge knowing the circumstances and to leave it a year before they charge!!!
    K
     
  7. sue38

    sue38 Registered User

    Mar 6, 2007
    10,856
    Wigan, Lancs
    Did your dad sign terms and conditions with the firm? I would ask to see a signed copy - as your dad's attorney you have a duty to make sure you are only using his money for things he is legally responsible for and the solicitors should appreciate that.
     
  8. joggyb

    joggyb Registered User

    Dec 1, 2014
    119
    Yes, I completely agree. They also pride themselves on being 'elderly friendly' and particularly sympathetic to those with dementia - but this bill (totalling £1500.00) shows no sign of that! They are also charging me for every tiny bit of 'advice', even that which I didn't actually ask for or were aware that they were charging me for, like names of a couple of care agencies to try.
     
  9. joggyb

    joggyb Registered User

    Dec 1, 2014
    119
    I suspect he did, but you are absolutely right that I must check.
     
  10. Wirralson

    Wirralson Account Closed

    May 30, 2012
    661
  11. Pickles53

    Pickles53 Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    2,482
    Radcliffe on Trent
    If you are able to confirm that your father did sign a terms of business letter, it is still open to you to query the amount of the bill as being unreasonable especially in view of the delay. Ask for a full itemised bill if you don't have it already. You can challenge the amount via the firm's own complaints procedure (ask for a copy so you know how they deal with complaints). With any luck this may prick their consciences enough to offer at least a reduction; they will not want to look unreasonable if you have to take the next step and go to SRA.


    Then if you are unhappy with the outcome of your complaint, you can approach the SRA. They usually want to know that you have tried resolving matters directly with the firm first.
     
  12. joggyb

    joggyb Registered User

    Dec 1, 2014
    119
    Yes, I was thinking of asking for a full itemised bill. But for the rest of it, it's really their word against mine. All I can say is what I remember being told in phone calls (about the secretary, for example) - none of that is recorded in emails, unfortunately.
     
  13. Delphie

    Delphie Registered User

    Dec 14, 2011
    1,242
    That's pretty shoddy in my opinion.

    My mum bothered her solicitor quite a few times before she went into care. I only found out about it afterwards because I found an invoice for £16 (a cost they'd incurred getting some documents for her before they twigged she wasn't well). No other charge for their time or kindness.

    The funny thing is that as pounds and pence go it was absolutely the right thing to do. They've had business from me since and will again in the future, and I've recommend them to several people too. Had I found a large bill for a secretary making a cuppa I would've challenged it AND told everyone I know how sharky they were being. ;)
     
  14. joggyb

    joggyb Registered User

    Dec 1, 2014
    119
    I agree. I know they are a business, and I respect that, but at the same time, this seems to be a bit money-milking, to say the least. I myself am thinking of not using them again for my own matters, and I will not now be recommending them to others, for sure. Very disappointing - for several years now, they have been helpful to the family and we have used them for a number of things. But I am very unhappy at this.
     
  15. Onlyme

    Onlyme Registered User

    Apr 5, 2010
    4,999
    UK
    When I see a bill pop out of the woodwork a year late I always suspect an accountant doing a year end audit and asking why this hasn't been billed.

    It may have been that the appointment was made, the solicitor intended to charge out his time to your account but then didn't send the bill due to the secretary taking over. That will have been long forgotten and someone has found the charge and sent it out.

    I would ring up to question it.
     

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