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Estates (Winding-Up Procedures)

Volume 205: debated on Friday 6 March 1992

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To ask the Attorney-General if he will put forward proposals to impose time limits within which solicitors will be required to complete the procedures for the winding-up of estates, varying the time limits according to the values of the estates concerned.

The amount of work involved in the administration of estates varies too much from case to case to allow fixed time limits to be imposed for winding up: the degree of complexity of an estate is not necessarily related to its size. The quick and efficient administration of estates is best achieved by encouraging high standards on the part of solicitors. This is a matter for their professional body, the Law Society, as they are a self regulating profession. The Law Society offers guidance to practitioners on best practice; and has recommended ways in which practitioners might streamline the administration of estates, in their recently published "Probate Practitioners Handbook". Failure to act with due dispatch when dealing with a client's affairs is a ground on which a complaint can be made to the Solicitors Complaints Bureau.