Exposed: Banks that prey on the bereaved

From the Daily Mail’s Money Mail supplement on Tuesday 16th June 2010

Bereaved families are being preyed upon by banks and unregulated probate firms which charge thousands of pounds to execute the estate of their loved ones.

Money Mail and consumer group Which? have seperately investigated the often-murky world of Will-writing and probate services – the legal process of handling the affairs of the deceased. We found shocking evidence of:

  • High street banks charging almost twice as much as solicitors for probate services:
  • Grieving relatives subjected to “hard-sell” tactics:
  • Banks automatically appointing themselves as executors of Wills;
  • Unregulated firms left free to give poor advice; and
  • Bereaved families prevented from shopping around for better deals.

They found Banks charge an average of £10,830 for executing a typical estate of £270,000, double the £4,759 charged by Will-writers and £5,199 by Solicitors. Barclays is the most expensive of hte High Street giants, with an average charge of £13,395.

A common ploy by Banks is to lure customers in with cheap Wills costing as little as £75.

The article goes on to say that that for professional help and advice about writing your Wills use a solicitor or a will-writer from a reputable body such as the Institute of Professional Will Writers – like me!