Executors can be asked to renounce claim: Executorship costs can be cut

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FEW people go round singing the praises of their bank, but Marian Horner has been immensely grateful to Lloyds over the two years since her husband died.

A couple of days after he died she took out the will and rang the local office of Lloyds in Cambridge because it had been named as executor. The estate was relatively small, she says, but the bank's executorship costs would have been 'some thousands of pounds'. However, since the bank was named in the will she thought there was nothing she could do.

She was very surprised then when one of the employees in the local branch told her that she could ask the bank to renounce its appointment. Mrs Horner was extremely grateful. 'If he hadn't told me I wouldn't have known I could get out of it.'

The renunciation procedure is a very straightforward one once both parties have decided to go through with it. A spokeswoman for Lloyds said: 'If a will is straightforward and we believe the beneficiary is competent and able to cope we would renounce our executorship.'

Lloyds knew that Mrs Horner was capable of administering the will because she had already provided it with a lot of information about her husband's estate.

Lloyds completed and signed a deed of renunciation of probate, paving the way for Mrs Horner to take over as executor. She took the form along to the local Probate Register and was appointed executor. She was not daunted by the role although the work was time-consuming and detailed. 'It did take me quite a long time to finalise it,' she said 'because there were fiddly bits like the income tax.'

Lloyds Bank says it is 'not uncommon' for it to renounce executorship. The minimum charge for executorship is pounds 1,000 plus VAT. For estates below pounds 500,000 in value Lloyds charges 3 per cent of the assets. Above that level the fee drops to 1.5 per cent. Service charges - for example, for making payments to beneficiaries - are extra.

Banks and solicitors are frequently appointed as executors in wills. Many solicitors are happy to provide a very cheap wills service on the condition that they will be appointed executors. But the price of a cheap will is sometimes an exorbitant executorship service.

Mrs Horner did end up paying Lloyds for some administrative work - just pounds 17.63.

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