Richard Davies was suspended for three years and ordered to pay £70,000 costs
A solicitor was suspended after drawing up wills for elderly clients which would have seen him inherit £150,000.
Richard Davies, who had been a partner of Neston-based RBM Davies and Partners, now in liquidation, was suspended for three years after a solicitors disciplinary tribunal in May where he admitted drawing up wills for two elderly women in which he would benefit without advising them to take independent legal advice.
Mr Davies was also ordered to pay £70,000 costs after the hearing found he had acted in a “manipulative way” and breached his position of trust with “very elderly and vulnerable clients”.
But the now bankrupt solicitor, 61, from Caldy, claimed the case was “not what it seemed” and said he had not known initially he had to recommend independent legal advice.
At the tribunal he admitted receiving gifts of £24,000 while one of his clients was alive without advising her to take independent advice.
He also admitted breaching rules about taking advantage of the solicitor/ client relationship by benefiting from their wills.
The tribunal heard the women, both in their 90s, had become “obsessed” with Mr Davies, with one describing him as her “boyfriend”.
Both clients died in 2008 but Mr Davies agreed to waive his claims to their wills after High Court proceedings were issued by family members.
Family and friends of the first woman told the tribunal Mr Davies would make comments about being short of money to her, visit her regularly and bring her gifts.
He and his wife stood to inherit about £50,000 from the will.
The judgement of the tribunal said: “The client was vulnerable because of age and isolation and a perfect example of why solicitors should not allow themselves to be involved in such a situation.”
The second woman would refer to Mr Davies as her boyfriend and he would regularly visit her and even phoned her from America while he was on holiday.
The tribunal heard a statement from the woman’s niece who said: “I recall my aunt referred to the respondent as her boyfriend, she said that he visited her and called her when she was abroad.
“On a later visit that I had with my aunt she told me that they had shared their first kiss.”
He was due to receive about £100,000 in her will.
Speaking from his home in Pikes Hey Road yesterday, Mr Davies said: “All I’ve ever tried to do is to be kind to two lonely old ladies.”
He said it was only when on a course that he realised he should have advised the clients to seek legal advice.
He then arranged for independent advice, although the tribunal found he did not “go about it in the right way”.
Mr Davies said he hadn’t wanted any money to be left to him in either client’s will.
He said he thought the three-year ban was “incredibly harsh”.