Comprehensive Executor & Inheritance Insurance – How solicitors can help avoid negligence claims
24th September 2019
Leading Barrister, Elis Gomer of St Johns Buildings has provided an Opinion on DUAL Asset’s foremost Executor and Inheritance Comprehensive Insurance policy. This single premium policy provides cover for the personal representatives dealing with estate administration, as well as the entitled beneficiaries, on the basis the accompanying statements of fact can be met. Cover is provided in perpetuity and covers both intestacies and testate estates.
The Comprehensive policy provides protection against the majority of problems an estate could encounter, such as a will being challenged, a new will being found, an Inheritance Act claim, or a missing beneficiary coming forward, amongst others. The soon to be relaunched Scottish version of the Comprehensive Policy will now cover legal rights claims from unknown parties. The Comprehensive policy is also available in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
Counsel was asked to comment on whether such a policy could be funded from the estate and whether a solicitor would be under duty to advise a client of the existence of such a policy and the professional liability implications of failing to do so.
– The indemnity provided by the policy would provide substantial peace of mind for the personal representative (and beneficiaries) of the estate.
– The policy provides a prudent personal representative with a one-stop solution with there being no other products on the market which covers the breadth of the insured events set out in the policy.
– Personal representatives would be acting entirely reasonably in incurring the premium from estate funds as an expense of administration, unless it is obvious that the nature of the estate does not warrant it.
– A solicitor who failed to advise a client of the existence of such insurance and the possibility of availing oneself of it, would in Counsel’s view be at risk of being found to be negligent by a court in the event a professional negligence claim was brought by a personal representative, or beneficiary, of an estate, which had been adversely affected by the type of event covered by the policy.
“Solicitors are in a great position to help protect themselves and their firms by advising their client of the existence of this Comprehensive insurance and the protection it offers to them,” says Kate Thorp, Manager of DUAL Asset’s Executor & Inheritance team. “Solicitors can easily include information about the Comprehensive policy in their optional searches form, or in their client letter post instruction. With estate litigation a growing sector, matched by a shrinking number of professional indemnity insurers, which the Law Society was warning about earlier this year (https://www.lawsociety.org.uk/news/blog/professional-indemnity-insurance-dilemma/), solicitors should now be taking action and following the advice of Counsel.”
The opinion can be read in full here.
If you have any questions about our Comprehensive policy or any of our other products, or wish to request further information, please contact Kate Thorp – Manager Executor & Inheritance Protection.
020 7337 8775 / 07519129136.