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Banks demanding probate


arsen lupin
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arsen lupin - aren't you asking the wrong question with "what legislation gives financial institutions this right?"  Shouldn't you be asking "is there any legal authority (statutory or case law) giving us the right to access these funds without probate?"  (I doubt there is by the way).

 

Looking at it from the point of view of banks, it's a commercial decision and exposure to risk decision whether they decide to release funds without probate and if they do, whether they apply a limit or not.  They are custodians of the funds in the bank account and on the death of the account holder they want to make sure (within reason) that they release the funds to the correct person.  One way to do this is to insist on probate.  Another way is to insist on probate only above a certain level.  A bank will make a decision that it is happy up to a certain level to accept the risk of being sued subsequently by a "rightful" beneficiary who actually has a grant of probate*.  Above that level they will insist on probate to protect themselves from the risk of being sued.  I suspect it has nothing to do with statute and has everything to do with the banks wanting to avoid being sued.  This is why I think you are asking the wrong question.

 

You make a point about the deceased and the beneficiaries all holding accounts at the same bank.  I'd be delighted to have an account at a bank which has this policy as it seems a very sensible safeguard to me.

 

*Of course you may know that there is absolutely zero chance of some third party subsequently coming out of the woodwork with a later will, but the bank doesn't know that.  And if such a third party did exist - and in different circumstances it might even be you! - they would not be happy with the bank...

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Dear Manxman in Exile,

 

Your knowledge makes clear, a possible way in OUR situation. I shall write to the CEO (providing copy of the Will) offering to comply with his request for probate after he review his assessment on the risk of the building society being later sued by the any beneficiaries. Based on the facts that the Will names only three beneficiaries, who are also the only three executors and known Members/Customers under his own appointed leadership!

 

Should that risk be zero, and he still insist on probate, this would then be classed as being unfair towards his customers and open to complaint!

 

Thank you 

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Well that might work, but I wouldn't bet any money on it.

 

You may have misunderstood my point (apologies if you have understood it!).  You and your siblings know that you are the only beneficiaries of your father's last will and you all know that there is absolutely zero possibility of a subsequent will turning up with different beneficiaries.  But without probate (ie you "proving" the will) the bank does not know this.  The bank does not know that without probate they would not be subject to potential future action by a currently unknown beneficiary under a later will.  As it currently stands, I don't see how you can persuade the bank without probate that they may not be sued in the future.

 

I think you need to forget what you and your siblings know about the situation, and put yourselves in the shoes of the bank.  They don't want to hand over £60k without what they consider adequate proof that they are giving it to the right people.  They've decided probate is that adequate proof.

 

The fact you all have accounts at the same bank seems irrelevant to any reservations the bank may have in this matter.  What I would say is that if I had an account with them, and found out they were in the habit of paying out amounts of £60k without probate, I'd be changing bank pronto as I'd be afraid they were leaving themselves open to legal challenge

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I've twice had to deal with dead people's estates.  On both occasions the banks had a low figure from £1 to a couple of grand or so that they would release on production of a death certificate.  Then from around £2000 to £5000 you had to swear an oath before a solicitor.  But above five grand or so it was probate.

 

The figures I've posted are just estimates as I can't remember exactly some years down the line, every bank will be different plus the figures will have been changed due to inflation.  But this three-tier system seems to be common.  And for 60 grand I think just about every bank would insist on probate.    

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16 minutes ago, FTMDave said:

I've twice had to deal with dead people's estates.  On both occasions the banks had a low figure from £1 to a couple of grand or so that they would release on production of a death certificate.  Then from around £2000 to £5000 you had to swear an oath before a solicitor.  But above five grand or so it was probate.

It's unbelieveably simplified since the last time I had to do it.  Banks etc. will release much larger sums these days but even if you do go down probate route even that is simplified and streamlined.  From posting off the forms it took under two weeks for me to get the Grant of Probate, this even though I'd had an email confirmation of receipt of the paperwork and a statement that it could take 'up to' eight weeks.  There is now no need to do anything more, no swearing an oath, that's it grant pops through your letterbox and job done.

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Dear all,

 

I think this brings this subject to an end, leaving us no choice but to apply for probate, The same probate, HM Probate & HMRC have told us is not required.

Our conclusion is that currently there is no provision provided for cases such as ours, or many others.

 

Thank you

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2 hours ago, arsen lupin said:

Dear all,

 

I think this brings this subject to an end, leaving us no choice but to apply for probate, The same probate, HM Probate & HMRC have told us is not required.

Our conclusion is that currently there is no provision provided for cases such as ours, or many others.

 

Thank you

 

As I think others have suggested, HMRC and HM Probate have probably advised you that for their purposes, probate is not required.  If you were to say to them "Yes - but my deceased mother's bank is insisting on probate before releasing the funds in her account.  Can you please tell the bank probate is not necessary?" they would say that's a decision for the bank to make, not them.  They can't tell the bank what business decisions to take.

 

Can you see the difference?

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