Practitioners warn banks against releasing large sums before grant of probate

Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE) has warned that some financial institutions are releasing as much as £125,000 from estates to a deceased's relatives without requiring a grant of probate.

SFE's Chairman Michael Culver TEP says that, in recent years, the cash limit has risen steadily from the traditional £10,000, under pressure from bereaved families dealing with the delays and expense of probate. In 2017, UK Finance (formerly the British Bankers Association) and the Building Societies Association agreed a code of conduct on the treatment of deceased clients' estates, including the release of necessary payments before probate. However, no definite standard limit was established, and different institutions still operate different practices.

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