Profession Fears For Digital Inheritances

New research undertaken by Direct Line Life Insurance has found that a significant proportion of probate lawyers are finding the rise of digital banking is making it more challenging to identify assets during estate administration.

  • 88% of probate lawyers surveyed believe digital banking has made it harder to identify all an estates assets.
  • In the last 12 months probate specialists reported difficulty identifying all estate accounts in over a quarter of cases
  • When administering an estate two fifths (38 per cent) of people surveyed did not know where a loved one held all their financial accounts.

The results of this survey closely mirror a recent survey undertaken by Estatesearch which found that over 75% of professionals had experienced difficulties identifying all of an estates accounts.

The Direct Line survey found the leading contributing factors were reported as a lack of physical statements or cards (62%), increased use of biometric security to access a phone or table (56%), and a greater number of financial service providers (47%). Additional factors included difficulty accessing the deceased’s email, a lack of discussion with family prior to death, people managing finances online and people simply forgetting where they hold assets.

More than a fifth of people reported not knowing where their spouse or partners financial assets are held, and almost two thirds (66%) did not know where their parents held funds. A lack of knowledge in respect of where the deceased held assets can create additional complexity for professionals. It introduces the risk of costs associated with assets or liabilities discovered after distribution, and the potential for disgruntled beneficiaries.

But for all the difficulties technology can introduce into the estate administration, it also creates opportunities for new technology to help overcome such challenges. Services such as the Estatesearch Financial Profile Service employ technology to electronically check financial records and contact a wide array of financial institutions to help locate all of the accounts in an estate. Providing Executors, beneficiaries and family members with the peace of mind of a comprehensive and efficient search that mitigates against the risk of missed assets, helping to ensure that all funds are re-united with their rightful owners.

Ben Furlong, Client Services Director at Estatesearch commented:

“In addition, to our award winning due diligence service to help identify estate assets and liabilities we support our clients with suggested client care wording drafted by experts in the sector. Helping ensure they effectively communicate about emerging risks and the solutions available, in doing so protecting the professional and adding greater value to their service.”

If you would like to discuss any of the Estatsearch services, or for help drafting or updating your client care letter feel free to get in touch with us.

Read the full Direct Line article here

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