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STEP Brings in New Protocol for Banks Handling Deceased Clients' Accounts

The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) has, this week, agreed new guidelines with the British Bankers Association (BBA) and the Law Society of England and Wales that will reduce administrative obstacles for both families and professionals in probate-related dealings with banks.

STEP said the new protocol will bring more clarity and prevent unnecessary delays in the administration of a deceased client's bank accounts.  This will help all professional probate providers, like Kings Court, and will minimise the stress that grieving relatives may suffer in the probate process.

The protocol covers the information that banks and STEP members and probate solicitors would normally require from each other in handling the current, savings, credit card and unsecured loan accounts of the deceased.

The new arrangement builds on earlier guidelines agreed between STEP and individual financial institutions including the Nationwide Building Society and Lloyds TSB. A large number of major banks and building societies have now signed the agreement, including HSBC, Barclays, Lloyds, RBS, Halifax and NatWest.  STEP say this is a stride in the right direction and they are encouraging banks and related financial institutions to consider adopting the same model.

STEP Chief Executive Officer, 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.”

Law Society president, Lucy Scott Moncrieff, also welcomed the new protocol, agreeing that it is a major success in helping to reduce the costs and stress for bereaved relatives by helping those involved in the probate process more efficiently negotiate administrative procedures.  She concluded that the “new arrangement is a considerable achievement and we hope to see more banks participate in the protocol in the future.”