Love and other expensive things: did you hear the one about the solicitor sued for looking after his client?
In the press recently you may have read about a case that proves the point of many a cynic pertaining to matters of the heart. However, it is less affirming for those who attempt to idly target the legal profession.
The High Court refused the claim of a young, “close and intimate” associate of a multimillionaire against the latter’s solicitors, a well-known London firm. The benefactor died in 2011 at the age of 72. Before dying he had attempted to give his much younger friend more than £5million from a discretionary trust fund which had been established for his benefit. His solicitor advised him, liaised with the trustees, and gave his unburnished view that his relationship with the younger lady was “that of a business arrangement as requested by [her]” whereby she “had required a substantial sum of money… to be his kind and loving companion.”
The trustees refused to pay such a sum but eventually agreed to pay about half the amount in periodical payments. When these payments came to an end, due in no small part to the trustees’ view that the claimant was a disruptive influence to the elderly man’s care arrangements, the claimant suggested the solicitors owed her contractual or tortious (wrongful) duties.
The High Court disagreed with the claimant and, when talking about the solicitor in question, the Judge expressed “a great deal of admiration for the obvious conscientiousness towards the interests of his client” and in regards to the “special delicate balance that he sought to achieve between giving effect to his client’s wishes and ensuring that he was not the victim of his own folly.” Heart-warming, I’m sure you’d agree.
It is worth noting of course that the whole point of a discretionary-trust is to take the final say in regards to distribution out of the hands of those who benefit.