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LIV concerns about Westpac's Estate Indemnity Requirements

LIV concerns about Westpac's Estate Indemnity Requirements

By Succession Law Section

Advocacy Succession Wills 


The LIV's Succession Law Committee has written to Westpac to express concerns about Westpac's requirement that an executor signatory indemnifies Westpac against any actions or claims that may be made, even where a grant of representation has been issued. 

You can read the LIV's letter to Westpac below: 

The Succession Law Committee of the Law Institute of Victoria (‘the Committee’) has some concerns about the Notification of Death, Funds Distribution and Indemnity Form (‘the Form’) that Westpac currently requires executors or administrators to complete as a pre-requisite for the release of funds held in a deceased customer's account. Specifically, the Committee is concerned by the Form’s Indemnity provisions. 
Above the signature line, the Form includes a statement that the signatory indemnifies the bank against any actions or claims which may be made. This statement is included on the Form whether a grant of probate or letters of administration (a grant of representation) has been obtained or not.
A grant of representation is a document issued by the Probate Registry of the Supreme Court to the person or persons entitled to administer the deceased’s estate. The grant gives an Executor or Administrator the authority to deal with the deceased’s assets.
The Committee accepts that an indemnity should be provided to the bank where there is no grant obtained. This is because the bank does not have the protection afforded by the grant.
However, where a grant of representation is obtained, and a certified copy is provided to the bank, we submit that the bank does not have a right to demand an indemnity. The grant of representation entitles the grantee to request and receive estate assets without providing an indemnity.
It may be that the bank prefers a single form to cover both the circumstance of there being a grant of representation and where there is none. We believe this can be done by including the requirement for the indemnity only where there is no grant of representation.
The Committee suggests that Westpac amends its release form to request an indemnity from the signatory only in circumstances where a grant of representation has not been obtained.
The Committee would be pleased to receive your response.

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