The Daily Mail has pushed an article highly critical of Bank Probate and their whole sales culture. They found the following issues, which are cause for concern, and do little to enhance the image of these institutions.
- Staff under high pressure to sell probate services can be very unfeeling to grieving widows and family members.
- Banks “free Wills” often require that the banks probate department be appointed as executor or joint executor.
- Bank Probate departments typically charge around twice the market rate.
- Cheap or “free” Wills are often used as a lure to trap clients into lucrative bank probate services.
The Daily Mail article goes on to say that it is essential to fully understand the cost structure of bank probate services. What it doesn’t say is that, compared with bank probate charges, ours are probably less than half of those charged by banks. and without the expensive responsibility fee charged by many firms. Not only that, we are very happy to provide as much or as little help as the family require: we don’t insist on doing everything: in fact, we prefer not too.
David Stallibrass, from the OFT, adds: ‘Customers thinking they are getting a cheap Will are unwittingly signing themselves up for executor services costing thousands of pounds.
Firms are not making it clear that you don’t need to appoint a professional executor, and that with simple estates you can do the probate yourself.’