In June 2015, HSBC sold their Wills and Probate business to a company called Simplify Channel Ltd, with the transfer date expected to occur on 30th October 2015. Simplify are based in London, which is seen as a concern to our clients in Yorkshire.
Over the years, we have seen many clients who have had their Wills drafted by HSBC. In most cases, the Wills appoint HSBC as the Executors.
HSBC have sent a letter dated 10th July 2015 to all customers that have made a Will with them, giving them the option to sign a Codicil to appoint Simplify or another Executor of their choice instead of HSBC, or to inform HSBC that their Will is no longer valid.
The clients we have spoken to were given a deadline of 31st July to respond. Simplify will not be able to act as Executors unless Wills are changed.
We have been helping worried HSBC customers who wanted to make sense of the letter and obtain proper legal advice before making a decision.
In most cases, we would advise clients to make a new Will or Codicil to amend the Executors named in their Will and choose a family member, trusted friend or our firm to assist in the administration of the estate. Many clients have said that keeping their business “closer to home” is important to them.
We are happy to write to HSBC to request the return of your Wills and we will take steps to make the necessary changes to the Wills.
HSBC provide no information of the financial arrangement between them and Simplify. Often firms who act for banks charge customers much higher fees to take into account referral fees they pay to banks.
Simplify are not regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. On their website, Simplify claim to have acted on behalf of banks for over 25 years, but Companies House shows the company as having been set up in 2012. Simplify are a subsidiary of Chorus Law Group Ltd, itself a reincarnation of a company called Independent Trust Corporation Ltd. We would strongly advise you to research these companies carefully. On their website, Simplify do not provide details or profiles of any members of staff. If HSBC have sold your Will without your permission, you may feel more comfortable with a more personal service.
If you made a Will with HSBC and have received the letter from them, or if you haven’t been contacted yet and are not sure where you stand, we would strongly advise you contact our wills and probate team on 033 3344 9600 for further advice.