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Executor and Probate House Insurance
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What is house insurance during probate?
Probate is the process in which you (as executor of a will) are granted authority and legal right to deal with a deceased person’s estate – that is to say, 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, but if it is greater, probate may become a more involved process and 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 such a major asset as property – the home they lived in, for example.
What is an Executor?
When someone dies, they leave behind an estate – all their possessions and belongings, whether these are relatively modest or include such valuable items as investments, savings and the home in which they lived.
In the deceased person’s will, an executor – or up to four executors – are named as the people responsible for carry out the wishes set out in the will, including the “administration of the estate”. Clearly, 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.
Why do you need specialist house insurance during probate?
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, house insurance after 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 just when regular forms of home insurance reflect the added risks and perils typically faced by an unoccupied property and insurers generally restrict or remove standard cover altogether once it has been empty for a period of between 30 and 45 days (the precise period varying slightly from one insurer to another).
That is why comprehensive cover for the building needs to be restored with specialist insurance for executors of estates – protecting the property which remains in probate and helping to meet the executors’ duty to ensure that the property is 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 complete.
Flexible house insurance after the death of the policyholder may be adjusted and extended to meet the changing deadlines for the completion of probate – and ensure that the property remains adequately safeguarded.
Insurance for Executors
Home insurance for executors is based on similar principles to the home insurance arranged by owner occupiers and, therefore, comprises three main components:
- building insurance: this protects the structure and fabric of the property, against such potentially destructive risks as fire, storm damage, flooding, impacts, theft and vandalism and typically provides sufficient cover for the complete rebuilding of the property following a major incident and its total loss;
- contents insurance: just as the term suggests, this provides protection for the contents of the home – the value of which may be substantial if it is an elderly person who has lived there – and an “all risks” policy may also cover accidental damage;
- property owner’s liability: this is an important aspect of any property insurance, since it provides indemnity against potentially substantia claims that may be made by any visitor, neighbour or member of the public who is injured or has their property damaged through some form of contact with the house.
Unoccupied property insurance
One of the big differences of the home for which you might be responsible as an executor is the likelihood of the deceased’s home standing empty throughout the period of probate. When the property is empty, the insurance cover that normally protects the home when it is continuously 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, therefore, 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.
With the loss of the standard home building and contents insurance which previously protected the property whilst someone lived there, unoccupied property insurance restores the necessary safeguards – and, so helps the executor fulfill his or her obligations for maintaining the house in a safe and secure condition, pending the end of the period of probate.
Since process of probate make take an indefinite period of time to complete, this type of home insurance for executors, and the unoccupied property insurance which may need to be incorporated into it, may be tailored to meet any given timescale – including months at a time, rather than the full annual period of cover otherwise demanded of regular home insurance policies.
Why choose us at UKinsuranceNET?
You are likely to 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 – and are able to help steer our clients through some of the insurance complications of probate.