A CHESHIRE solicitor who delayed properly dealing with a will for four years was fined £3,000 yesterday.
David Sims, 63, broke strict legal rules by failing to locate the dead person's assets or apply for probate to tie up the estate.
The beneficiaries of the deceased, referred to as G, included The Royal National Institute of the Blind.
Mr Sims also failed to deal properly with two other probate cases for a Mr and Mrs A, the Solicitors' Disciplinary Tribunal heard.
The hearing was told that Mr Sims, who was also an executor, misled his clients into thinking that their cases were going ahead smoothly.
But Canadian lawyers ended up taking out a judgment against him and two fellow executors when he delayed in dealing with the estate.
His delays led to Mr Sims having to pay compensation of £2,000 to their relatives.
The tribunal heard Mr Sims runs his own firm, David Sims and Co, in Handbridge, Chester.
Mr Sims, who did not appear at the hearing for personal reasons, admitted four allegations.
These included giving misleading information to lay clients and failing to reply to letters.
Mr Sims accepted the blunders but claimed it was "due to pressure of work and personal circumstances".
He also incorrectly paid some £4,220 into the wrong client account, the tribunal heard.
The errors were picked up at an inspection of his firm by the Law Society in January 2001.
Peter Cadman, for the Office for the Supervision of Solicitors, said: "This is not presented as a matter of dishonesty.
"It is a matter of a 'rogue' file that sits on the corner of a solicitor's desk."
Geoffrey Williams, QC, defending, said: "He apologises through me to the tribunal and the profession for his lapses.
"He is wholly and utterly contrite. He has scores and scores of current files at any one time. He accepts he has lapsed badly on three of them."
"He accepts the delay was over the line and amounts to conduct unbefitting.
"He was bogged down with his work. The probate became a rogue file he failed to get to grips with."
Mr Sims was also ordered to pay £3,000 costs.