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Published on January 26th, 2017 | by admin

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Home Insurance for Executors

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Home insurance is one of those necessities to which any executor has to pay especially close attention.

The responsibilities and duties of the executor of a will are many and varied – as the website Law Pack helps to explain.

Amidst all of these responsibilities, it might be easy to overlook the importance of safeguarding any property of the estate – typically the home in which the deceased once lived – by arranging the necessary building and contents insurance.

The responsibility is critical, not only for ensuring that the property is adequately safeguarded, but also to the executor fulfilling the duties for which he or she is charged – at the peril of facing a claim of negligence if there appears to have been any failing in that duty.

Arranging insurance

At first sight, it might appear very simple and straight forward to ensure that adequate building and contents insurance is in place. After all, the person who once lived there is likely to have arranged just such cover for the home in which they lived. Isn’t it simply a question of transferring the name of the insured to that of the executor?

There may be two problems with this approach:

  • many insurers might limit such a transfer to the surviving spouse only and if you are not acting in that capacity, the insurer is likely to insist on a completely new policy; and
  • the former home might be empty and unoccupied during the probate process, so that the insurance of the building and its contents needs to be covered by unoccupied property insurance.

Home insurance for executors, therefore, may prove more involved than it first appears. Not only is a new, separate insurance policy likely to be required, but that policy also needs to take into account the likely vacancy of the property until at least the completion of the period of probate.

The need for unoccupied property insurance arises because practically every standard home insurance policy incorporates a clause explaining that the level of cover is substantially reduced, exclusions apply or the policy is regarded as lapsed altogether once the property has been unoccupied for longer than a period of 30 to 45 consecutive days – the exact interval varying according to different insurers.

The reason for the downgrading of cover is because insurers recognise the increased risks faced by an empty property compared to one that is occupied more or less continuously by its owner.

Insurance for executors of estates therefore needs to reflect, first of all the executor’s duty to safeguard any property formerly owned by the deceased with appropriate insurance, but also to take into account the fact that any such property is likely to remain empty and unoccupied during the course of probate, pending decisions on the eventual disposal of the house.

If you are named as an executor in someone’s will, therefore, you might want to consult a specialist provider of insurance for property in probate and pay particular attention to whether the house is likely to be left empty and unoccupied for the duration of probate.


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