A new protocol has been agreed by the Law Society, The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners and the British Banking Association. It covers the exchange of information between banks and solicitors/probate administrators following the death of an account holder to assist in the provision of information and the closure of accounts.
Chief Executive of the British Banking Association, Anthony Browne said of the protocol "The last thing people want when grieving is bureaucratic hassle between their banks and lawyers. These new guidelines should help make the process work more sympathetically and avoid delays."
President of the Law Society, Lucy Scott Moncrieff, added "This protocol unlocks the labyrinth of administration, costs and stress for grieving relatives by helping their solicitor to negotiate the different administrative procedures involved in winding-up an estate. Managing relationships with banks and building societies has long been a problematic aspect of probate practice. This new arrangement is a considerable achievement and we hope to see more banks participate in the protocol in the future."
Whilst Chief Executive of STEP, David Harvey, said "STEP practitioners have long spoken of difficulties and delays during the estate administration process in relation to assets held by financial institutions. We are pleased to now have agreements with the majority of UK banks which will provide grieving families with some certainty at a very difficult time. We thank the BBA and the Law Society for their cooperation on this protocol and would encourage banks and similar financial institutions currently outside the agreement to consider adopting it."