The families of up to 1.5 million customers who have been sold some wills by banks have been left thousands of pounds out of pocket through onerous T&Cs.

Families looking through the small print of their wills are discovering they have huge charges they knew nothing about. Some families have had to pay over £30,000 for the bank to administer their relatives estate. Read more.

grieving families left thousands of pounds out of pocket

A similar thing happened to 78-year-old Barbara Morey when she took out a will with NatWest approximately ten years ago.

Barbara can’t remember exactly how much she paid but reckons including storage it was in the region of £140 and thought at the time it seemed like a fairly good deal.

Her daughter Debbie Folkes recently read an article in the Mail about how some of the wills sold by banks such as NatWest included onerous terms and conditions which have left grieving families thousands of pounds out of pocket.

Victim of a banks major money‑making ploy

Debbie discovered when she looked through the details of the will her mother had taken out with NatWest, that she had fallen victim to a major money‑making ploy used by nearly all the major banks in the late Nineties and early Noughties.

It had not been made clear to Barbara, within the small print, NatWest had reserved the right to act as executor of her will when Barbara died.

In the event of Barbara’s death, it would be NatWest and its solicitors, who will be responsible for concluding Barbara’s estate and dealing with everything from property sales to inheritance tax and not her daughter Debbie or another family member or trusted friend.

For this service, it states the bank will charge an administration fee of £1,500 and a massive 2.5 per cent of her mum’s total estate (plus VAT). The current value of Barbara’s estate is worth in the region of £220,000 – so this equates to a figure of £7,000 plus VAT.

NatWest claim they were clear about its fees and that Barbara chose to appoint them as executor.

Barbara, says no one explained this to her. ‘It has all come as a real shock to me and seems almost unbelievable.’

Paul Crowley & Co encourage clients to name a friend or relative to be the executor of their will 

Natasha Booth, Head of Private Client at Paul Crowley & Co solicitors, always encourages her clients to name a friend or relative to be the executor of their will and would only recommend a professional executor in very specific circumstances. When the partners of this firm are appointed as executors our fees are very clear, and they are safe in the knowledge that we will not overcharge and that we are SRA regulated.

‘I always encourage clients to name a friend or relative to be the executor of their will and would only recommend a professional executor in very specific circumstances’. Natasha Booth, Paul Crowley & Co solicitors

Where a bank may charge up to 4% to be an executor, our charges are an additional 1.5% of the gross value of the estate, excluding the property for which a 0.5% additional charge is levied. This is in addition to our usual administration costs.

Circumstances where I would recommend a professional executor are where perhaps the person making the will did not have any relatives in the UK, or where there was a lack of trust between their relatives and they thought that putting things in the hands of the solicitors would help to prevent a family feud.

It has been revealed by the Daily Mail that up to 1.5m people have been sold rip-off wills by banks.

If you would like to discuss any aspect of making a Will or authorising somebody to act on your behalf as your Power of Attorney, please contact Natasha Head of Private Client for expert no obligation free advice on 0151 264 7363.


For a free no obligation chat with Natasha please call now on 0151 264 7363 or email us.

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