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Frances Timmerman was the solicitor who was instructed to act on behalf of the late Lucy Barlow, the details of the case having been transferred from another branch within the law firm. In November 2008, Frances made contact with Lucy's ex-husband Peter Barlow.

At the appointment with the solicitor the following day, Peter was surprised to learn that Lucy had left him the proceeds from the sale of her house and business. When Peter enquired as what it would all add up to, the solicitor gave him an approximate figure of £250,000 for Lucy's estate and advised that with no inheritance tax payable, the affairs could be all tied up within the space of three to six months.

Their meeting came to a conclusion with the solicitor informing him that Lucy had given these instructions on the understanding that Peter assumed the responsibility of raising their young son, Simon.

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