Streamlining Section 27 Notices

The Trustee Act 1925 originally came into effect on 1 January 1926 accompanying the land reform legislation of the 1920s.

It means Executors are responsible for dealing with claims against a deceased’s estate.  While administering, debts can be settled with estate funds prior to distribution. However, if a creditor appears after the estate is distributed, the Personal Representatives would need to request money back from the beneficiaries which might not be forthcoming.  Because it may be challenging to identify all of the creditors, a Deceased Estate Notice, also known as a Section 27 Notice,  demonstrates effort has been made to locate creditors.  The placement of a Notice affords the Personal Representative Statutory Protection against unknown creditors, removing their personal liability for future claims against the estate.

Section 27 of the Trustee Act 1925 requires the Personal Representative to place a Notice in either the London, Edinburgh or Belfast Gazette.  In addition, if the deceased owned land or property an advert must be circulated in a suitable local newspaper.  The Personal Representative must then wait the required claims period before making any distributions.

Estatesearch offers a straightforward automated service to place advertisements. Legal firms can order either notice via our secure Probate Portal by simply providing a client reference, name, Date of Birth, Date of Death and the address of the deceased.  We provide our customers with a Certificate of Insertion (or copy of the relevant publication page) as confirmation via the Portal.

Our Portal is designed for ease of use and doesn’t require any subscription or membership fees. It puts everything in one place and also provides access to other searches and services. The simple intuitive ordering process which default fills known fields (i.e. publication date, claims date and Executor details) offers a cost effective and efficient solution for private client solicitors.

Legal firm Monan Gozzett uses Estatesearch’s Financial Profile search and Section 27 notices are ordered through the company’s secure portal.  Stephen Sampson, Head of Private Client, based in Monan Gozzett’s Arundel office describes this as: “Extremely easy to use.”  The firm also uses the portal to place statutory notices.  He says: “It’s helpful to have everything in one place.  We get notifications when a financial institution responds and so it’s easy to keep up to date and this saves time.”

National Differences

In England the claims period is two months and one day.  However, in Scotland, Trustee Notices are rarely used because local law means creditors have six months from date of death to make a claim and thereafter right to claim ends.

In Scotland, in the future it is possible this may change.  With the increased popularity of online banking, shopping, gambling and payment schemes, digital liabilities are increasingly common and it is more likely creditors are unknown to the family of the deceased.  Solicitors will need to prove due diligence and Trustee Notices achieve this.

In Northern Ireland relevant legislation is Section 28 of the Trustee Act 1958.  This requires Gazette Notice in Belfast and publication of local advert twice in each of any two daily newspapers printed and published in Northern Ireland, or if the property includes land, in any two newspapers circulating in the district in which the land is situated.

Estatesearch can also arrange to place notices in local adverts overseas if required. For example if the deceased lived or owned property in France, Spain, Cyprus, Greece or Italy for example.

The team at Estatesearch is committed to helping legal firms smooth the probate process, removing delays where possible and reducing the time spent on the case for the benefit of a firm’s clients at what can often be a difficult time.  In addition to placement of Section 27 Notices, we also offer Overseas & UK Bankruptcy Searches, Asset & Liability searches, Will Searches, Unoccupied Property Insurance, Early Distribution Insurance and Share Valuations which can all be accessed in one place and all on one invoice for greater efficiency.

For further information please see:

Written by Allan Hume, Customer Relationship Manager, Estatesearch

This article was submitted to be published by Estatesearch as part of their advertising agreement with Today’s Wills and Probate. The views expressed in this article are those of the submitter and not those of Today’s Wills and Probate.

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