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Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 25358
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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Hi I signed up some years ago with Estate Protection Services

Customer Question

Hi
I signed up some years ago with Estate Protection Services after they hard-sold me during a will consultation. I signed a contract for them to be executors to my estate at 1% for which they took an up-front sum which I am paying back by installments. I now feel that leaving my estate in the hands of strangers is the wrong move and wish to revoke this contract.
(a) Can I do this just by writing to them or having a will drawn up by someone else?
(b) would I still be liable for the ongoing payments on the up-front charge if I was cancelling the contract or can I just stop paying these instalments?
(c) how legal are these policies anyway when the company can't guarantee still being in existence when I die?
Thanks for any help you can offer
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Joshua replied 3 years ago.

Joshua :

Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practicing lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.

Joshua :

May I clarify they charged 1% as a fee for acting as executor and wanted it up front?

Customer:

They charged a lump sum up front of somewhere between £1000 & £2000. This is what I am paying instalments on. The 1% is additionally what they will take as executors from the Estate if they handle it.

Joshua :

Thank you and the 1% fee has not yet been paid to them?

Customer:

No - they have had the initial fee but will only get the 1% when they wrap up my estate

Joshua :

Thank you. So what was the £1-2000 fee for please? Was this just for preparing a will?

Customer:

No - there was an individual fee of between £50-100 that I paid up front for the will. I received a draft from them. In the end I didn't ever get round to signing it anyway and they haven't followed up on that which suggests they don't have much due diligence anyway.

Customer:

The lump sum was an 'advance' for executor services

Joshua :

Is this whereby they promise to help with paperwork and so on for probate? Did you understand the amount you were agreeing to pay them?

Customer:

I did understand how much but as you can tell now I'm still unsure as to what it covers - I think it was to do with making sure they had some administrative costs covered whether or not the estate would pay a reasonable amount in the 1% - probably to cover the basic administration.

Customer:

As I no longer want them to handle this I'm hoping I can drop them without it becoming a credit issue.

Joshua :

Thank you. Finally did they advise you that you did not have to take the policy or did they advise you that it was necessary or make any misrepresentations to you?

Customer:

They didn't tell me I had to - I was looking for a way to make things easy on my heirs and I believed they were a reputable firm that would do that. Since then I have heard some negative things about them and don't really want them to have an involvement in my estate.

Joshua :

thank you. You are free to change your well at any stage you wish before your death and there is no difficulty whatsoever in your simply making a new will. Your new will will revoke any previous will you have made including the one in question. your new will can also appoint new executors. You do not need to inform the previous firm you used their once you have signed a new will, you should contact them if they are holding your existing will to us and destroy it

Joshua :

*to ask them to destroy it

Customer:

And do you think I am legally responsible to keep paying the advance admin charge if I am not going to use them?

Joshua :

there is more difficulty potentially with regards XXXXX XXXXX policy you have signed up to. There is a great deal of concern with regards XXXXX XXXXX peddling of these policies and indeed in the legal world with regards XXXXX XXXXX offering of will writing services by unregulated often unqualified individuals who advise people on very important decisions. disappointingly, the government chose not to take the opportunity to require this area to be regulated and say there are many companies of hugely varying standards offering will writing services and dubious associated products that go with them.

Joshua :

if you can demonstrate that the policy was mis-sold to you on the grounds that you were misrepresented precisely what it included or you were told that it was necessary to have the policy we were told that your estate was one where such a policy was needed then you may be able to claim that the policy was mis-sold to you and avoid further payments.

Joshua :

If however the policy was explained to you properly and you understood what it was that you are purchasing then this would amount to legitimate sale of a product to you and the price agreed by you for the product would be enforceable by the company

Joshua :

accordingly, very much depends upon what you can demonstrate was told explained to you at the time you decided to take up the policy and agree the price.

Joshua :

unless the policy is underwritten by an insurance policy, you are quite correct that there is no way that the firm can guarantee the service and if this was not explained to you properly, again, this may be a basis on which to challenge the way in which the policy was sold to you

Joshua :

there is no easy way to cancel the policy however. You could simply choose to stop making payments and tell them if they think they have a claim against you that they will need to issue proceedings in the County court which she will defend on the basis of the policy was mis-sold but you would then need to be ready to claim that the policy was mis-sold to you and from what you say above, you do not seem entirely convinced that it was. Or they could do would be to issue a small claims claim against you in the County Court so there is little more than this to concern yourself with if you chose to stop making repayments

Joshua :

the feedback I have received from such policies which in my view are wholly unnecessary for almost all individuals is that when relatives have tried to make a claim upon them they find that the service is extremely limited if indeed the company is still operating but I do not suggest this would be necessary the case here

Customer:

Ok - thanks - I guess I'll just start by writing to them and saying I wish to terminate the policy and payments and see if they come back with any comment. I'll revisit the paperwork and see what the small print says and if it was what I thought it was.

Joshua :

I think that is wise. Perhaps taking the opportunity to read through the policy offerings in detail and comparing this against what you understood was on offer and if you find that the service is more limited than you understood or on reflection you consider that they advised you that such a policy was necessary for you all would be of value to you when in fact a review of the terms indicates this is not the case, you may have claimed misrepresentation against them as a basis to stop making payments and indeed even to claim back those payments that have been made but you would need to be able to show at least some of the above in order to consider this

Joshua :

is there anything else I can clarify for you above?

Customer:

No - I think that's covered it - thanks for your help

Joshua :

If I can assist any further as the situation develops please do not hesitate to revert to me

Joshua :

If you have no further questions for now I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to rate my service to you today. Your feedback is important to me. If there is anything else I can help with please reply back to me though

Customer:

Ok have a good evening

Joshua :

And to you.

Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 25358
Experience: LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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