Complaints

If you would like to talk to us about how we could improve our service to you, or if you are unhappy with the service you are receiving, please let us know by contacting Darryl Hazelhurst-Jeavons. We will carefully consider any complaint you may make about our probate or estate administration work as soon as we receive it and do all we can to resolve it. We will acknowledge your letter within five business days of its receipt and endeavour to deal with it within eight weeks. If we do not deal with your complaint in this time, or if you are unhappy with our response, you may of course take up the matter with the Legal Ombudsman.’ You must include the contact details for the Legal Ombudsman, which are:

T 0300 555 0333
Post Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ
E enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk

Probate Regulations effective from 23 February 2017 Page 25 of 40 You must also advise the client of the timescales for making a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman. Ordinarily, the following timescales apply:

• the act or omission, or when the complainant should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint, must have been after 5 October 2010; and
• the complainant must refer the complaint to the Legal Ombudsman no later than: – six years from the act/omission; or – three years from when the complainant should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint; and – the complainant must refer the complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of the date of your firm’s written response.

For compensation scheme:
ICAEW administers a Probate Compensation Scheme to accord with the requirements of the Legal Services Act 2007.
The information about the scheme should be read together with the Probate Regulations and the Probate Compensation Scheme Regulations.

What does the scheme cover?
The scheme is available for clients of firms accredited for probate by ICAEW, who can apply for compensation if they have suffered a loss that was in consequence of:
• fraud or other dishonesty on the part of an accredited probate firm or of any principal or employee of an accredited probate firm, in connection with their activities in the course of authorised work; or
• a failure to account for money which was received by an accredited probate firm, or the principal or employee of an accredited probate firm, in connection with their activities in the course of authorised work.
Each case will be considered on its merits and ICAEW’s Probate Committee has an absolute discretion to decide whether to make a grant under the scheme and on such terms it deems appropriate. No person has a legally enforceable right to a grant. It is a fund of last resort and the applicant should have explored other ways to recover the loss, for example making an insurance claim or taking court action. A grant will be refused if the Probate Committee considers the loss is capable of being made good by other means.

Limits
There are certain limits on how much can be paid out and in what circumstances, which are set out fully in the Probate Compensation Scheme Regulations. These include but are not limited to:

• A maximum grant of £500,000 in connection with a single estate.
• Claims must usually be made within 12 months.
• Notice should also be given to the accredited probate firm.
• Grants will not be made if the applicant is a body corporate or registered charity with an annual turnover of or exceed £1m.
• Certain losses are not covered, for example, trading debts or liabilities of the accredited probate firm (see regulation 5.1 for further details).

How to apply
You should contact ICAEW as soon as possible if you are considering making an application for a grant. Please e-mail claire.phillips@icaew.com