Probate is the process by which you (as executor of a will) are granted the authority and legal right to deal with a deceased person’s estate. That is to say, you can receive and make payments in the name of that estate.
If the estate is especially small – say, less than £5,000 in value – probate is unlikely to be needed. However, if it is greater, probate may become a more involved process and could take a relatively long time to conclude.
One of the reasons for this, and the reason why many estates involve considerably greater value, is because of the deceased’s ownership of a property – the home they lived in, for example.
When someone dies, they leave behind an estate. This is all their possessions and belongings, whether these are relatively modest or include valuable items like investments, savings and the home in which they lived.
In the deceased person’s will, an executor (or up to four executors) is/are named as the person or people responsible for carrying out the wishes set out in the will. This typically includes the “administration of the estate”. The role carries important responsibilities and an executor has several duties to carry out.
Included in these responsibilities is the safeguarding of any property in the estate – most commonly the home in which the deceased once lived. The appropriate protection for such property, of course, is home insurance.
During the period of probate, property remains in the ownership of the deceased’s estate until its future is determined in accordance with the will.
But that property – both the building and its contents – still needs the protection of insurance against the common, potentially substantial, risks of fire, flooding, storm damage, theft, vandalism and the like.
Indeed, managing the details of house insurance after the death of the policyholder is one of the duties of anyone appointed as an executor of the deceased’s will and estate.
During probate, it is not appropriate to attempt a simple transfer of the existing home building and contents insurance likely to have been arranged by the deceased. Such insurance is also likely to be inadequate for a property that, in all likelihood, is probably going to stand empty and unoccupied during the probate period.
That is when regular forms of home insurance are vulnerable to the added risks and perils typically faced by an unoccupied property. As such, insurers generally restrict or remove standard cover altogether once a property has been empty for a period of between 30 and 45 days (the precise period will vary slightly from one insurer to another).
That is precisely why comprehensive cover for the building needs to be restored with specialist insurance for executors of estates. This will protect the property while it remains in probate and help to meet the executors’ duties to keep the property safe and secure.
This form of home insurance during probate has the additional advantage of flexibility in its duration of cover. Probate may become complicated and involved, with no one being able to predict with any certainty when the process is going to be completed.
Flexible house insurance after the death of the policyholder may be adjusted and extended to meet the changing deadlines for the completion of probate. It can also ensure that the property remains adequately safeguarded.
Home insurance for executors is based on similar principles to the home insurance arranged by owner-occupiers and comprises three main components:
As an executor, you may suddenly find yourself responsible for managing the deceased’s home while it stands empty during the period of probate. When the property is empty, the standard insurance cover that normally protects it when it is occupied is likely to be restricted or may lapse altogether.
Insurance for executors of estates also needs to consider the likelihood of the home being left empty and unoccupied during the period of “administration” or probate.
If you are an executor looking for home insurance during probate, you may be pleased to know that the policies we arrange here at UKinsuranceNET take into full account the need for specialist unoccupied property insurance.
Unoccupied property insurance restores the necessary safeguards, helping the executor to fulfil his or her obligations for keeping the house in a safe and secure condition, pending the end of the period of probate.
The process of probate can take an indefinite period of time to complete. Therefore, this type of home insurance for executors, and the unoccupied property insurance which may need to be incorporated into it, can be tailored to meet any given timescale – including on a month-by-month basis. As such, you won’t necessarily need to pay for the full annual period of cover that is otherwise demanded of regular home insurance policies.
Many of our customers choose UKinsuranceNET simply because of our expertise and experience in this niche of the insurance market. We understand the worries and concerns of those with the responsibilities of executor – a role that many might be taking on for the first time. That means we can steer you through some of the insurance complications of probate, which means one less headache for you.
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