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Banks and solicitors agree new protocol for estate administration

A new protocol designed to ease the administrative burden on family members who suffer a bereavement has been agreed by the British Bankers’ Association (BBA), the Law Society and the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP).

3 October 2012

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The protocol covers the exchange of information between banks and solicitors and estate practitioners following the death of a bank customer.

It is designed to bring clarity to probate-related dealings between solicitors and banks by allowing solicitors to efficiently negotiate the different administrative procedures used by banks for releasing assets held by deceased customers.

Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds TSB, Halifax, Royal Bank of Scotland and NatWest are among the signatories to the agreement, which covers the handling of current, savings, credit card and unsecured loan accounts.

This latest initiative builds on the foundation of the protocols already entered into by some individual banks. It is hoped that it will bring greater clarity and consistency to such arrangements and help prevent unnecessary delays and uncertainties when administering a deceased customer’s bank accounts.

Law Society president Lucy Scott Moncrieff said: “This protocol unlocks the labyrinth of administration, costs and stress for grieving relatives by helping their solicitor to negotiate the different administrative procedures involved in winding-up an estate.

“Managing relationships with banks and building societies has long been a problematic aspect of probate practice. This new arrangement is a considerable achievement and we hope to see more banks participate in the protocol in the future.’

David Harvey, chief executive of STEP, also welcomed the move. “STEP practitioners have long spoken of difficulties and delays during the estate administration process in relation to assets held by financial institutions.

“We are pleased to now have agreements with the majority of UK banks which will provide grieving families with some certainty at a very difficult time. We thank the BBA and the Law Society for their cooperation on this protocol and would encourage banks and similar financial institutions currently outside the agreement to consider adopting it.”

Categorised in:

Tax & Wealth structuring Wills, Trusts & Probate