Intermeddling - Second bank fined for contravention of Probate Law
03 October 2019
A second international bank in Jersey has been fined for the offence of intermeddling under the Probate (Jersey) Law 1998 (the "Probate Law").
This offence is committed where the movable estate situated in Jersey belonging to a deceased person is administered without having first obtained a Grant of Representation from the Royal Court of Jersey. Bedell Cristin reported the first ever case of this kind last year when the defendant bank was fined £25,000. In this second case, the defendant bank has been fined £20,000.
In both cases, the deceased was domiciled outside Jersey leaving cash in the relevant banks in Jersey. In the first case the incident was described as an accidental oversight by the bank employees who should have known better, however, in the second case the bank employee knew that a Jersey Grant of Representation was required on the death of a customer before any payments could be made from the deceased's account. However, the bank employee chose to continue to make payments to the bereaved partner of the deceased without a Grant of Representation. In both cases each bank self-referred the breaches of the Probate Law to the regulator, cooperated fully with the investigations and put in place additional policies to prevent future breaches.
These cases illustrate the dangers of intermeddling with an estate and the seriousness with which the Royal Court treats such breaches.