HSBC letter causes great concern for will writing customers

The sale of the HSBC will writing service that has subsequently left many customers confused has been responded to by an open letter. This response to a letter the bank issued in July to those who made a will with them and appointed HSBC as executor, exposes a number of faults in the explanation of the service being offered.

What was the reasoning behind the letter?

The sale of HSBC’s will writing service to Simplify Channel Ltd in June 2015, has now resulted in many invalid wills belonging to customers who chose to use the service and appoint HSBC as the executor. With the sale details being held behind closed doors, the customers’ knowledge on the subject and the available options is assumedly limited. With the customers left in the dark, Peter Casewell, partner from the reputable firm Taylor Bracewell, decided to issue a response to those who were issued the letter and discuss the mistakes and options available. This is also aimed at affected clients who have yet to be informed of the situation.

What was wrong with the letter by HSBC?

When people began to read the letter issued by the banking giants, the confusion that may have been suffered prior to receiving the letter seemed to amplify. There were many flaws and somewhat misleading points arising the letter, such as HSBC branch staff not being aware of the letter having been issued. A mishap in the dates was also prevalent, along with hints of encouragement in terms of handing the will over to Simplify.

Given the mistakes witnessed, is this acceptable customer service? Would you be concerned if your clients had been affected?

What does the letter from Peter Caswell offer?

Caswell has urged those who sense the encouragement put across by the bank to use the new buyers Simplify, to search around before making the decision on appointing an executor, as it may not be the most cost effective. The suggested course of action in terms of being cost effective, is not to use a reputable firm; Caswell suggests clients use a family member as an executor.

The open letter also highlights the unusual nature of sending out a pre-populated Codicil and also how firms who act for banks often charge more for their services.

Another major factor highlighted by Caswell’s letter is that Simplify are not regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). Simplify also claim to have been working for the bank for over 25 years; this being invalid as the company is said to have been set up in 2012.

Extensive research on the company is also recommended in the open letter, along with urgent advice sought from a reputable solicitor.

What is your opinion on this case — have HSBC hindered their latest business move?

Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

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