Lawyers discover lost £30k policy
A Scottish family law firm has helped discover a missing inheritance that was lost and forgotten about after its owner passed away.
Edinburgh-based Gibson Kerr tracked down a £30,000 investment policy that had not been disclosed in its owners will and ensured that it was passed to its legal beneficiary – who had no idea that the huge inheritance even existed.
To identify the policy, Gibson Kerr used the Landmark Financial Asset Search (FAS) – a service that assists probate lawyers to identify potentially lost or forgotten financial assets that should be distributed as part of the administration of an estate.
Scott Rasmusen, partner at Gibson Kerr, said that the policy could potentially have remained unknown and unclaimed if the FAS results had not unearthed it – and added that many people in Scotland also risked missing out on similar inheritances, because the assets are not included in their owners’ wills.
He said: “It is very common for people to die without highlighting all of their investments to their families or beneficiaries. If you don’t include details of all of your financial assets in your will – and then don’t reveal the accounts to your next of kin – it’s very difficult to find these investments when you die.
“In some cases, there can be tens of thousands of pounds lying in a savings account which rightfully belongs to someone – but they don’t know anything about it, as the details have never been revealed to them.
Wills and legacies
“Their solicitor won’t know about the money either, as it hasn’t been included in the account holder’s will, so there’s every chance that the investment could remain unknown indefinitely.
“However, by using the Landmark FAS service, we were able to perform a search, identify the account and then ensure that it was returned to its rightful beneficiary. It is a great tool that provides invaluable support for family law practitioners.”
The issue of unclaimed – or unidentified – assets is becoming an increasingly common problem across the UK. Research by the Unclaimed Assets Register has estimated that more than £15bn worth of assets are currently unclaimed in the UK – while 75% of people are believed not to have a will that clearly documents their current financial assets.
Scott adds: “With so many unclaimed accounts and assets out there, it’s imperative that solicitors incorporate these kinds of searches in order to demonstrate best practice, mitigate risks and help protect themselves against future potential negligence claims. The FAS service is therefore a very useful solution for family law firms, as it helps ensure beneficiaries receive all funds to which they are entitled.”
James Sherwood-Rogers, Managing Director of Landmark UK Property, Landmark Information Group, said: “For such a respected firm as Gibson Kerr to support Landmark FAS demonstrates the strength and credibility both Landmark and its products have within the insurance sector.
“With over a third (39%) of the public admitting that they would welcome a search service to assist an executor to identify such assets, our unique FAS tool is much in demand, with many firms already reporting that they have uncovered assets that would otherwise have been lost.
“With effective compliance essential in today’s marketplace, the thorough nature of Landmark FAS makes it a vital part of the process of helping identify the assets of the estate. We are delighted Gibson Kerr is supporting Landmark FAS.”
PR in Scotland for lawyers
Gibson Kerr is a family-run law firm that has been established in Edinburgh for more than 100 years. It has an excellent reputation for providing a comprehensive service encompassing both property and personal law, including powers of attorney, executries and wills.
More information and legal advice can be found on the website www.gibsonkerr.co.uk.
For further information on Landmark FAS, visit www.landmarkfas.co.uk.