Executors and property insurance
When someone dies, their residence is often the principal asset of the estate. A key responsibility for executors is to make sure that the property remains adequately insured.
As soon as feasibly possible the executors should review the home insurance policy to check details of the cover provided. The executors must notify the insurance company of the death and inform them that the property is unoccupied.
The insurance company are likely to apply endorsements to the policy during the period of unoccupancy. These endorsements may include matters such as the property needing to be regularly inspected by a responsible person and the central heating being kept on during the winter months to avoid the possibility of frozen pipes.
If insurance premiums are paid by direct debit, these will be cancelled by the bank once they have had sight of the death certificate. The executors should therefore make sure that the balance of any premium due is paid and make a note of the date when cover is due to be renewed in order to avoid the policy lapsing.
The insurance company should also be informed if the property is sold. Most companies will issue a pro rata refund for any unused months, less an administration fee.
If you have any queries about an executor’s responsibilities or probate generally, please contact us.
Peter Gooch is the Probate and Trust Manager at Barker Gotelee, Solicitors in Suffolk.