• October 2015
    HSBC Wills and Simplify

    Recently HSBC transferred its probate services business to Simplify, a large UK-based probate firm. The majority of wills made by HSBC named the bank as executor and clients have been sent codicils to sign to appoint Simplify to be the new executors.

    Choosing who you have as executors of your will is very important. Your executors must be trustworthy and unafraid of paperwork, because it is their job to administer your estate properly and in a timely fashion. Many people think that they cannot have a beneficiary as an executor, or that they must appoint a professional. This isn’t the case. Obviously, though, there can be situations in families where having independent executors, or a mix between independent executors and family, can be helpful in preventing disputes after you die.

    It is important that you choose your executors carefully. If you are thinking of appointing a professional organisation to be your executors then you should try and research them and find out more about them. Are they well established? Are they easily contactable? Will your family be able to meet someone face to face or will they have to rely on doing everything via the internet or telephone?

    You should never sign a Will or codicil without giving it some serious thought and without taking the opportunity to review your will thoroughly.

    Some people think that it is expensive to make a will.  Many will writing companies, who are often uninsured, unregulated and who employ unqualified staff may frighten you about solicitors’ fees being excessively high but that is not the case. The truth is that a will is one of the most important documents that you will ever sign in your life. You don’t need to sign one every year, so spending a little bit of money to get your will right for, perhaps, the next ten years is actually money well spent.  Solicitors will be happy to provide a fee quote and will often be cheaper than the will-writing and probate businesses.

    If you receive a letter from HSBC or Simplify asking you to sign a codicil without receiving any further advice, I would therefore urge you to research the proposed replacement executor, and take legal advice before signing anything. If you have signed a new will since your HSBC will then you need to be especially careful that you do not confuse matters by appearing to revoke your new will in favour of reviving your old one.

    Use your local solicitors, they’re on the High Street to help you.

    For further information contact Martin Banwell on 01473 255591 or email

    This article provides only a general summary and is not intended to be comprehensive.  Special legal advice should be taken in any individual situation.

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