HSBC Wills Warning
A Burnetts' solicitor is urging anyone with a Will which names HSBC Trust Company (UK) Ltd as their Executor to take legal advice on their current inheritance planning arrangements.
Following a sell-off of its probate business to Simplify Channel Ltd, HSBC has written to all of its customers with Wills naming the bank as Executor. The letter advises that HSBC will no longer be able to act in that role. Included with this notification is a legal document for customers to sign appointing Simplify as their new Executor.
Emma Baker, an Associate Solicitor in the Wills and Trusts team at Burnetts is advising anyone who has received such a letter to contact a solicitor for advice. She said, “Choosing an Executor is an important decision and one which should be properly discussed with a trusted adviser. HSBC customers are free to appoint whomever they want as Executor - they do not have to, and may not want to, appoint Simplify. The role of Executor is an extremely responsible role: it will certainly be worth exploring other options such as appointing a family member, reliable friend or a local firm of solicitors instead. The alternatives should be fully explored with a legal expert before signing up to Simplify.”
An Executor administers a deceased person's estate, having been appointed to do so in a Will. The duties of an Executor include organising and paying for the deceased’s funeral and securing assets – the Executor is the only person with the legal authority to deal with property, implement the deceased’s wishes and protect the best interests of the beneficiaries.
Burnetts’ Wills and Trusts team is now receiving several calls each day from concerned HSBC customers who have been advised that the transfer of HSBC’s probate business to Simplify is due to take place at the end of October.
Emma continued, “HSBC customers will need to make a decision about who to have as their Executor. If there is none in place at the time of death, one of the beneficiaries would need to step in and apply for a grant of probate. This means that the person who ends up looking after your affairs might not have been your first choice.”
Burnetts’ wills and trusts team hosted a free legal surgery in Penrith on Thursday 29th October 2015 with free 30 minute appointments. See the latest Burnetts events here.
The team is one of only two firms in Cumbria to be accredited under the Law Society’s Wills and Inheritance Quality Scheme.
Emma can be contacted direct on 01228 552222 or by email here.All News