News and industry insights

Supporting Executors, Deputies & Attorneys During Covid-19 Outbreak: FAQs

• By Ben Furlong on September 16th, 2020 •

In recent weeks the private client sector has continually innovated and adapted to meet the challenges presented by the current Covid-19 outbreak. No firm has been unaffected, and everyone embracing new approaches to continue being able help their clients.

The preparation of Wills has been an immediate issue, but all areas of private client have been impacted including Estate Administration and Managing Property & Financial Affairs. Our belief has always been in transformative ability of data and technology to improve processes, and we’ve seen a dramatic increase in certain enquiries exploring options in estate administration and managing property and affairs. As a result we thought it’d be helpful to share some of the most regularly asked questions;

Q. I’ve recently been appointed Executor/Deputy/Attorney/Professional Advisor to a new estate, can I remotely identify details of the estate?

A. Travel restrictions or safeguarding issues might mean you are unable or ill advised to access property or personal files. However, there are a variety of free and premium searches which can help gather information on an estate. We are happy to offer informal discussion of options including our Financial Profile Service efficiently gathering both personal information and financial information concerning live, on-line, lost and dormant accounts, helping minimise reliance on paper reviews, or you can read more here.

Q. The estate includes an unoccupied property, what are the best insurance options and are there policies that don’t impost inspection clauses?

A. Many insurance providers have already extended their terms in respect of inspection clauses, so if you already have insurance in place more information can be found here. If you are currently looking seeking unoccupied property cover, there are providers offering more favourable inspection clauses and we can help arrange inspections as required. Alternatively, there are now providers who can offer cover without any inspection requirements.

Q. We (the firm) are acting Executors and have been asked to make an early distribution because the beneficiaries are in financial difficulty due to the current outbreak. Can we get an indemnity to safely distribute before the expiry of the IA 75 claims period?

A. In short Yes. Many professional Executors might offer to distribute early with a signed undertaking not to spend the funds until the expiry date of the claims period, but once spent there is little recourse for the Executors. A sensible alternative is placing an Early Distribution Policy indemnifying the Executors and Beneficiaries against potential claims from unknown dependants, cover can be incepted within the claims period and is in effect in perpetuity should a claim ever be successfully bough outside of the claims period in the future. Policies are cost effective and can be extended to include a range of risks including Testamentary Capacity and Proprietary Estoppel challenges.

If you would like more information on any of the above or for an informal discussion about how we might be able to help you and your clients, please feel free to contact us.

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