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Date Published:11 Mar 2016 Last Updated:11 Apr 2021

HSBC Will Clients – Who are your “professional” Executors?

Wills, Trusts & Probate

If HSBC Bank Trust Company drew up your Will – you may have also appointed them to act as your Executors. These are the people (or in this case the Trust company) appointed to administer your Estate after you have passed away. They are responsible for selling your house, closing your bank accounts and paying the inheritance according to the instructions in your Will.

Many people choose to appoint professional Executors to assist their family and loved ones in dealing with the Probate application and finalising their affairs. This happens typically when either a) your Estate is very complicated and you think it would be too overwhelming, or too much of a burden to your family, or b) for personal reasons you don’t think it would be appropriate to appoint your friends or family to take on the role.

In many cases it is sensible and appropriate to appoint professionals as your Executors. At Ellis Jones we frequently take on this role. However, professionals do of course make a charge for dealing with Estates. If your concern is simply that dealing with the Estate might be a burden – then you can always appoint a loved one and they can, when the time comes, seek as much assistance as they need from solicitors. This approach was recommended by This is Money. The legal fees will be payable from your Estate and not by the Executors personally.

Ellis Jones has been advised by several former HSBC Will clients that they have received letters from HSBC advising that they are no longer continuing their Probate Administration service and therefore the clients should appoint alternative Executors. They will post you two Codicils (essentially an addition to your Will). The first automatically appoints a Probate Administration company to act as your Executors instead. The other is left blank for your completion. You are asked simply to sign one document.

Several clients have come to this firm to seek advice as to how best to proceed, understandably wary about appointing a company of which they have no prior knowledge to such an important role, and concerned about the charges their family will incur.

Unlike solicitors (who are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority) Probate Administration companies are not regulated and therefore it is very difficult to complain about the service provided.

There is no requirement for unregulated companies to abide by a code of conduct. This means that unlike solicitors they do not have to act in their client’s best interests and therefore they do not need to ensure that their costs are proportionate to the work undertaken. You will note in the This is Money article above, banks administering Estates were found to charge twice as much as solicitors firms for the same work.

If you do have any queries we would invite you to get in touch, for an open and frank discussion about how you should proceed, not to mention whether your Wills are still relevant and up to date.

The administration of an Estate can be extraordinarily expensive and it is worth doing your research as to your options in appointing Executors.