One of the biggest banks in the UK, indeed the world, HSBC’s decision to sell its wills and probate business to a centralised firm means many people across the country need to act immediately to ensure their will is in order.
The decision to sell to a business called Simplify Channel Ltd means there are many ordinary people with concerns about how it affects them.
Here at Bowsers, just like many law firms who have expertise in this field, we have advised many people who have had wills drafted by banks and, in the majority of cases, the wills appoint these banks as the executors to act on the will when the person has passed away.
The clients of HSBC have had a letter offering them an option to sign what is called a codicil to appoint Simplify, or another executor of their own, instead of HSBC, or to inform HSBC that the will is no longer valid.
In most cases we would advise the public to make a new will or codicil to amend the executor’s name in their will and choose a close family member, trusted friend or a reliable firm of solicitors to help oversee the administration of the estate.
It is understandable that many people wish to keep such important affairs local, where they know they can get easy answers to any queries rather than deal with the less than sufficient personal service often associated with large centralised institutions.
For us in the legal world it is noteworthy that HSBC have provided no information on the financial arrangement that led to the sale to Simplify, which is due to go through by the end of October.
It is also worth pointing out to the public that, in the majority of cases, firms who act for banks charge far higher fees to take into account referral fees than regular high street law firms.
As we have said before, wills are vital documents that too many people do not pay enough attention to – leaving their family in perilous situations after they have gone.
We hope this advice not only helps those affected by HSBC’s commercial decision, but also brings home to the masses that, if you need a will, now is as good a time as any to get the wheels in motion – and local regulated law firms are easily the safest option to protect a lifetime’s assets.