Deceased estates notice placement still best practice, Gazette survey reveals
A Gazette survey of probate professionals has created a clearer view of the motivations behind deceased estates notice placement.
The good news for best practice is that 80 per cent of probate professionals surveyed will always place a deceased estates notice in The Gazette when they are acting as the executor of an estate.
Placing a notice in The Gazette and in a newspaper ensures that sufficient effort has been made to locate creditors before distributing the estate to beneficiaries. This protects the executor (or trustee) from being liable for claims from unidentified creditors.
Important influences in the decision to place a notice are predominantly:
- the relationship between the deceased and their family (66 per cent)
- whether the distribution might be contested (60 per cent)
- the degree of confidence that the beneficiaries have been located (60 per cent)
But the most important overall reason for placing the notice is to prevent claims against the executor and the firm.
Despite this high level of due diligence, the survey does show that probate professionals don’t always advise clients who are acting as executor to place a deceased estates notice as standard. They are more likely to recommend it if the deceased’s affairs are complex, or if there is a suspected missing beneficiary.
The general picture is that private individuals carrying out probate (DIY notice placers) may be less likely to place a notice in The Gazette, as they are of the view that they know the deceased’s affairs, despite the hidden risks of hidden digital accounts and potential unknown creditors.
Unregulated will writing companies and the rise of alternative business structures offering probate services is seen as a significant threat to the professional wills and probate sector for 28 per cent of respondents.
Over half of respondents said that the value of an estate doesn’t influence the decision to advertise or recommend advertising in The Gazette and, interestingly, 40 per cent said that tax issues and fear of not paying the correct tax are a likely influence on an executor’s decision to place a notice.
For more information please contact The Gazette customer services team on 0333 200 2434 or email [email protected]
This article was submitted to be published by The Gazette as part of their advertising agreement with Today’s Wills & Probate. The views expressed in this article are those of the submitter and not those of Today’s Wills & Probate.