UK banks’ and building societies’ treatment of their customers is governed by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in its Principles of Business. This includes a general requirement for firms to provide a prompt, efficient and fair service to all of their customers, including those who have recently suffered a bereavement.
The Government is supportive of industry efforts to improve handling of these sensitive cases, including the implementation of the British Bankers’ Association’s Bereavement Principles. These Principles commit firms to support customers and, in particular, allow necessary payments to be made from the deceased’s accounts. Such payments include inheritance tax, which can be paid directly to HM Revenue and Customs, before probate is granted, through the Direct Payment Scheme. Where lower amounts are held, the Principles also commit firms to consider whether they can waive probate requirements and release funds more quickly.