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Bond of Caution, Executor Cover and the Family Tree Check

This website offers you a simple and straightforward way to obtain everything you need to mitigate the risks and help you proceed to distribute the estate with confidence.

We have combined the best providers of Bond of Caution, executor insurance and Genealogy services to provide a complete package. However you can choose one or any combination of these products to provide the best solution that meets your clients' needs.

The Bond of Caution is underwritten by Aviva Insurance Ltd (with administration undertaken by LawSure Insurance), Executor insurance is provided by Dual and Genealogy services by Estate Research.

What is a Bond of Caution?

In some instances a Bond of Caution is required by the Scottish Courts. It provides a guarantee that the estate will be distributed in accordance with Scots Law.  It does not protect those dealing with the administration of the will who are required to indemnify the guarantor in respect of any payments made under the Bond.

The Bonds of Caution available under this scheme are provided by Aviva Insurance Limited through LawSure Insurance, who handle the administration for all Bonds of Caution.

What is Executor Cover?

If a beneficiary comes forward after distribution, the insurer will pay out under the terms of the Bond of Caution, however there is a risk that the insurer will subsequently seek to recover, from the Executor, monies paid out under the Bond.

If Estate Research have checked the family tree and it is correct then we will be able to provide you with a quote for Executor Cover (also known as a 'Comfort Policy') . This protects the heirs and beneficiaries and even in many circumstances, the solicitors from any future possible claims.

The policy covers a wide range of risks including:

1.   A will being discovered after the estate is distributed which changes entitlement to the Deceased’s estate;

2.   After the estate is distributed, someone who is not insured by this Policy and is missing at the date of distribution, successfully exerting a claim upon the estate;

3.   A buyer claims that an item which they purchased from the Deceased's estate, was not rightfully owned by the Deceased and the buyer having to return the item,

4.   A challenge being raised against the validity of the will, by someone who is not named in the will, either because:

a.   the will is fraudulent or was not properly executed; or

b.   the Deceased did not have the proper mental capacity required to make the will, did not approve the will or have proper knowledge of its contents;

5.   Financial claims by Creditors who are unknown when the estate is distributed  (subject to an excess equal to 1% of the Policy Amount and a limit of 10% of the Policy Amount, or £50,000.00, whichever is the smaller),

6.   A Claim being made for financial provision under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975;

The above list is not exhaustive and a copy of the full policy wording is available on request. The policy can also be extended to cover ‘known’ issues such as a missing beneficiary.

Estate Research and Free Family Tree Check Service

If you are applying for an indemnity policy to cover the Executor(s) the insurers should ask whether the family tree has been verified by a genealogist, if so cover can be offered at a preferential rate.

When the only evidence you have in relation to a family tree is provided by the family it is recommended that an independent check is carried out. How do you know your client is in possession of the full set of facts? There is always the possibility of “unknowns” in any family.

Estate Research carry out a free assessment of the family tree provided and can advise if there are areas that warrant further investigation. If it is an immediate family check we can undertake this for free.

A recent statutory update links the question of personal liability to objective test: have enquiries of a "reasonable and prudent" trustee been made? Using a professional genealogist, who is offering a free check, could be seen to address such liability.

Estate Research will carry out the requisite investigations to provide you with a family tree that you can rely upon.

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Please get in touch for advice and quotations.