Back in 2009, my first ever stint for the BBC ‘Rip Off Britain’ team was an interview with Gloria Hunniford about how banks often charge exorbitant fees for obtaining probate and dealing with an estate when they have been appointed as executors of a customer’s will.
Six years later, banks and probate are still a hot topic. HSBC has recently sold its wills and probate business to a company called Simplify Channel Ltd. The deal was done in June and is due to go through in October.
In a letter I have seen which HSBC has sent to customers who have wills appointing the bank as executors, it is stated Simplify has acted on behalf of banks for over 25 years. However, at Companies House it is recorded that Simplify was set up only in 2012. The company is a subsidiary of Chorus Law Ltd, itself a reincarnation of a company Trust Corporation Limited.
Research is never a bad investment of time and all the companies mentioned seem to have lots of interesting things written about them on the internet and elsewhere.
Solicitors are regulated and insured, which means that, as a customer, you have redress if you are unhappy with the service provided; as a consumer, you have a gold standard of protection compared to an unregulated company.
I am not an HSBC customer but, if I was, I would be cheesed off if my will had been sold off to company such as Simplify. Indeed, if you are an HSBC customer affected by this you may wish to take your business elsewhere. Perhaps to a place where you would be valued more highly.
I first became aware of the HSBC will sale after a number of clients rang up not sure what do after receiving the letter from the bank informing them of the fait accompli. Since then, colleagues in other parts of England have been in touch with similar stories of HSBC customers feeling confused and let down.
If you have made a will with HSBC and have received the letter, or if they haven’t been in touch yet and you don’t know where you stand, you would be well advised to get in touch with a reputable solicitor, of which there are many to choose from in our locality.