Landmark Financial Asset Search Financial Asset Search

LandmarkFAS: Frequently Asked Questions

What is Landmark Financial Asset Search (FAS)?

LandmarkFAS is an online financial asset tracing process. Our service has been designed to assist probate professionals trace assets, specifically those otherwise lost or forgotten over the course of an individuals lifetime, to ensure that they are identified and included in the estate.

What does a LandmarkFAS search involve?

LandmarkFAS searches for the following key components:

  • Personal Pensions
  • Life Policies
  • Occupational Pensions via DWP (if requested at the point of order)
  • Unit Trusts & Investment Trusts
  • Investment Bonds
  • National Savings & Investments
  • Building Society & Bank – Dormant Accounts
  • FTSE100 Shares registered with the three share registrars: Capita, Computershare & Equiniti
  • Wills registered with the Certainty National Wills Register

Why was this service launched?

Probate professionals have a number of important obligations to fulfill, whether they are acting as an executor or are assisting the personal representatives. LandmarkFAS was launched to help with the arduous process that probate professionals would undertake to locate lost and forgotten assets from a wide number of financial institutions across the UK. By purchasing a LandmarkFAS report, they can simply provide the details once, and LandmarkFAS will contact a number of financial institutions on their behalf, and provide a report after 28 days outlining where assets have been found in the name of the deceased.

Is there any requirement for these assets to be located?

If financial assets are missed, for whatever reason, an incorrect tax liability may be calculated which could result in HMRC imposing a fine upon the probate professional.

The Inheritance Tax (IHT) forms required to be submitted to HMRC, irrespective of the size of the estate, include specific statements and guidance for the Probate Professionals and Executors. Examples include:

  • “You will need to make detailed enquiries so that you find out everything you can about the deceased’s estate…” (Taken from p.8 of the HMRC ‘Guide to completing your Inheritance Tax Account’.) ; and

  • “Did the deceased have any provision for retirement other than the state pension?” (Excerpt from HMRC IHT 205 and 400 forms).

What if the deceased had a paid up pension from many years ago? The paperwork can easily be missing or overlooked. This is one of the many aspects a LandmarkFAS report will search for to help ensure accurate submissions can be made to HMRC.

In addition, the Law Society of England & Wales Probate Practitioners Handbook 7th Edition (2015) provides guidance that "to limit the risk of overlooking assets, it may be sensible to use a company such as Landmark Financial Assets Search, which will carry out a search against the deceased's name." In addition it is recommended that a search of the National Wills Database is undertaken to identify a missing will or, to be confident that the latest will is used when distributing an estate. LandmarkFAS also includes a search of the National Wills Register without requiring you to separately search this source - yet another way that LandmarkFAS can help probate professionals ensure that lost and forgotten assets are returned to their rightful owners.

What are the main benefits to Financial Institutions?

We believe there are a number of key benefits, including:

  • An effective means of demonstrating commitment to the Financial Services Authority mandate of ”Treating Customers Fairly” (TCF).
  • Compliance with the Dormant Banks & Building Society Accounts Act 2008, and a decrease in the amount of funds required to be transferred to the reclaim fund.
  • A timely notification of a client’s death, thus allowing appropriate management of the account.
  • The creation of new business opportunities through the regeneration of assets.
  • Delivering a positive experience for the deceased’s beneficiaries, ensuring goodwill between you and potential customers.
  • Appropriate management of dormant accounts can reduce the likelihood of a deceased client’s assets being misappropriated by an unauthorised person.

What does a financial institution need to do?

We are able to send correspondence in a number of ways to best suit you and your processes. If you would like to change the way you currently receive information from us, please contact us on 0844 844 9967 where we will be happy to discuss the options.

You will receive an enquiry from LandmarkFAS. This will include:

  • Client's name
  • Previous name(s) (if applicable)
  • Last known address(es)
  • Date of Death
  • Date of Birth
  • National Insurance No (if known)
  • A document providing evidence of death (for example: certificate of death, grant of probate, letter of administration)

You are then asked to respond only where a positive identification of assets is found, i.e. a life policy, pension policy, unit trust, investment trust, cash held on deposit in an account.

If you are already dealing with the probate professional directly (some lawyers order a search after they have commenced notifying Financial Institutions of the death of the deceased) then you need not respond. Ours is a search for lost or forgotten assets.

At this stage, this is simply a request to comment “yes” to assets identified, if any exist. Your reply can be by fax, e-mail, telephone or in writing.

What is a financial institution required to do if no assets are found as a result of our search?

Negative responses are not required; therefore you need take no action.

What should a financial institution do if already in communication with the lawyer or executor?

Please tick the applicable box on the form advising us of your involvement and provide the relevant reference number if possible.

What does LandmarkFAS do with the information?

The LandmarkFAS system creates a report which incorporates the responses received from the institutions contacted. This report is then provided to the probate professional dealing with the estate. If our report identifies that a previously unknown asset may be held by a financial institution then the probate professional will contact the institution further to commence the claim process.

How secure is the search process?

The LandmarkFAS online platform is encrypted to prevent fraudulent capture of the information. We have a small, dedicated team who have undergone stringent employment screening prior to their work on LandmarkFAS searches, and who treat this information in the strictest confidence. The data entered by you is not used by Landmark for any other purposes.

Landmark Financial Asset Search Ltd is registered as a Data Controller under the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA). The processing of data of deceased individuals is not required to be compliant with the DPA, however LandmarkFAS still applies appropriate security controls to this data to prevent unauthorised use.

How can we get further information?

A dedicated telephone number is available to assist you with any general enquiries. Please call us on 0844 844 9967.