Banks as executors

High street Banks sometimes encourage their customers to make Wills, offering to make them very cheaply or even without charge. In return, the Bank is named as an executor of the Will.

When the time comes the Bank will employ their choice of solicitor to deal with the Probate, and the estate will be charged handsomely. The fee is split between the solicitor and the Bank.

We are acting for 3 adult children of a lady who left a relatively simple Will in which the residue of her estate goes to the 3 children in equal shares. She appointed all 3 of them, plus the Bank to act as executors.

The Bank’s proposed fee was 2.3% of the value of the estate, 3 times more than we had quoted.

There were no complications, such as Trusts, and the 3 children have a good relationship and can work well together.

We contacted the Bank which initially refused to stand down.

We put forward arguments why it was not necessary for the Bank to act, and asked them for file notes from the time when the Will was drafted explaining why they were appointed co-executors. Eventually they agreed to stand down.

Moral – if at all possible appoint relatives or trusted friends/advisors as your executors. They can then choose where they get their legal advice from.