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Lloyds will writing service cost shameful exploitation of bereaved families has been laid bare in a damning new report.
Distraught families can also be targeted by unregulated firms offering probate services for eye-watering fees. When someone makes a will, they appoint executors to sort out their estate when they die.
Banks and specialist firms are offering cheap wills, having themselves appointed executor and then charging tens of thousands of pounds for executing the estate. Yet most estates can be dealt with by friends and family - with the help of a solicitor for more complex issues - for a fraction of the cost.
The researchers used a simple scenario. Rip-off charges The Which?
Readers have also complained about the high charges levied by specialist probate firms such as ITC Legal Services. Customers can be lured by cheap - or even free - will-writing services. The catch is that the bank will appoint itself as either sole or joint executor of the will and force bereaved relatives to pay through the nose for probate services when the customer dies.
Undercover researchers at Which? Solicitors came out of the survey rather better, with none recommending naming their firm as executor.
They all suggested the children - the beneficiaries of the will - were best placed to be chosen. It is usually possible to force firms to step down from their role as executor, but they are not legally obliged to do so. Adam Walker, from independent probate broker final Duties, says: But those who call the free helpline or visit the website are directed towards ITC legal services.
Those who deal with banks might be ripped off.
But at least they have the protection of the independent disputes arbitrator the Financial Ombudsman Service. Similarly those given duff advice by their solicitor can go to the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Astonishingly, will-writing and probate is not regulated. Firms that offer these services need no training or qualifications.
Most reputable firms are members of trade body the Institute of Professional Will Writers, which has its own code of conduct, but membership is voluntary.
Adam Walker, from Final Duties, who has been campaigning for statutory regulation, says: Anyone can set up a will-writing or probate service. I could recruit a tramp and he could be in business tomorrow. If something goes wrong, you are protected. But if you want someone to look after your estate - which will typically involve much larger sums - you will often be dealing with an unqualified, unregulated, uninsured and untrained salesman.
But it appears to have ruled out introducing statutory regulation. David Stallibrass, of the OFT, says: Regulation will add costs for firms, which will be passed on to customers. One firm recommended it was named joint executor.
An ITC spokesman says: However, should a client raise a concern, of any kind, we will review their case immediately and sympathetically. How will writers and banks cash in on death Most watched Money videos.7 Jan Daily Telegraph: Such gall.
Sir, As one of those financially ruined by Lloyd's, may I heartily endorse Mero Tetby's letter (Jan 3). What is even worse than David Rowland's "ludicrous knighthood" is that he had the temerity insensitivity and appalling bad taste to accept it.7 Jan If you've got assets and people you'd like to look after, making a will is crucial: read our guide on will writing cheaply - or even for free, online.
6 Jan Daily Telegraph: Further huge losses loom for Lloyd's members. LLOYD'S of London members, some already hard-hit, are about to suffer more huge losses following a dramatic deterioration in the finances of another syndicate involved in the notorious "LMX spiral"..
About 1, members of R J Bromley syndicate could be facing losses of more than pc of the syndicate's capacity. Lloyd's is the world's leading insurance market providing specialist insurance services to businesses in over countries and territories.
Long Service Award Policy. POLICY.
Version 2 – effective from 11 September POLICY STATEMENT. The Long Service Policy provides Lloyds Banking Group with a mechanism to recognise and reward the contribution and loyalty of employees when a Long Service anniversary is reached.
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