Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Clampdown on costly executors

I've heard a number of cautionary tales from distressed viewers who discovered that a family member's estate was being horribly depleted, after a bank appointee filled the job of executor.

Now, there will be less danger of inheritances being squandered on expensive executors, after four of the biggest banks said they would change they way they helped customers with their wills.

Barclays Bank, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group and RBS Group have all voluntarily agreed to review and improve the way they sell will-writing and executor services following discussions with the Office of Fair Trading.

Costs for a professional executor to administer an estate can be high and vary considerably. For an average estate, consumers can pay between £3,000 and £9,000. Failing to shop around for executor services could be costing UK consumers around £40 million a year, according to the OFT.

The four banks have agreed that consumers making a will should not be led to believe that appointing a professional executor is essential or the norm. Also, they should not be encouraged to appoint a professional executor unless it is clearly in their best interests.

Consumers appoint executors in their wills, to administer their estates after they die. They can appoint lay executors, such as friends or family members, if they want.

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