Lost Codicil Probate Case Study

24 February 2017

Client Situation

After her mother had passed away, Mrs C spoke with our Probate Advisory team and arranged for meeting with one of our specialist Probate Consultants.

Mrs C's mother had originally appointed a large bank to be the Executor of her Will. However, a number of years later she prepared a Codicil which altered her Will, cancelling the appointment of the bank as Executor and appointing her three children as Executors instead. The Codicil was stored in the bank along with the Will.

Unfortunately when the Will was retrieved from storage it became apparent that the Codicil was missing, despite Mrs C having a copy of the Codicil which had been stamped by the bank on receipt.

With our Probate Complete Service we take full responsibility for obtaining Grant of Probate and dealing with the Legal, Tax (not VAT), Property and Estate Administration affairs*.

How We Helped

We immediately corresponded with the bank and the Solicitors who drafted the Codicil. Once it became clear that neither the bank nor their Solicitors could locate the Codicil, the bank said they would renounce as Executors for a fee of £180. We told them we would not pay this and the bank agreed to waive the fee.

This caused a four week delay before the bank signed a Deed of Renunciation to officially step down as Executors. An offer on the property had already been accepted so this was very stressful for Mrs C as she did not want to lose the sale.

We then complained to the bank about the delay to the process, the extra time we had to spend dealing with the matter and the stress caused to Mrs C. The bank agreed to pay £225 to cover the extra work we had to carry out and a further £150 for the distress caused, all of which was passed to the beneficiaries of the Estate.

The Outcome

Despite the delay caused by the bank, the property sale went through and the whole Estate administration process was completed in just over four months, even though Estates with property can often take a year or more.

*We can also pay all the costs of a Co-op Funeralcare funeral, providing the Estate owns sufficient assets which can be sold in due course to repay our costs.

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