Royal London extends signature-free trusts eligibility to Whole of Life policies

Today, Royal London has extended its online, signature-free trust to Whole of Life (WOL) applicants.

Related topics:  Royal London,  trusts
Tabitha Lambie | Editor, Protection Reporter
11th March 2024
Life Policies in Trust
"Trust and beneficiary nomination developments are high on our agenda."
- Jennifer Gilchrist, Protection Specialist at Royal London

In April 2023, Royal London extended its online, signature-free trusts to Personal Menu plans, so advisers aren't double backing on themselves when placing a policy in trust. At the time, Royal London stressed the importance of trusts to protect people, especially co-habitees, who could be left exposed without the right planning in place.

READ MORE: Royal London extends its signature-free trusts process to personal menu plans

Today, the mutual has made further improvements by extending its signature-free trusts to Whole of Life (WOL) applicants. This will enable plans to be placed in trust as part of the online application journey, making it easier and more efficient for advisers.

Overall, advisers can now place a WOL, Business, Relevant Life or Personal Menu plan in trust without requiring an electronic or wet signature from customers, trustees, or witnesses.

Furthermore, Royal London has launched a new discretionary trust form to replace four existing discretionary trusts. This means the same form, online or paper, can be used for joint and single life policies - with or without Critical Illness (CI). This process doesn’t require signatures from customers, trustees, or witnesses.

Royal London’s trusts have also been improved to add cohabitees as potential beneficiaries, while trustee administration at claim has been reduced by including payment direct to beneficiaries as a more prominent option. This avoids the need for trustees to register the trust if the claim is not for death.

“Trust and beneficiary nomination developments are high on our agenda for digital enablement of advisers for new and existing customers,” explained Jennifer Gilchrist, Protection Specialist at Royal London. She believes having both solutions will help deliver the best outcomes for customers and their loved ones, especially when it come to claims.

“This is particularly relevant to cohabitees, the fastest growing family unit in the UK, who can be excluded from death benefits without the right planning in place. Including this group provides one of the broadest selections of beneficiaries in the market,” she added.

Ruth Gilbert, Lead Partner at Insuring Change, has spoken extensively about the importance of trusts and beneficiary nomination at industry events.

In response to Royal London’s latest accessibility improvements, she said “it’s great to see Royal London put trusts on an equal footing to beneficiary nomination for ensuring cohabiting partners aren’t excluded […] trusts and contractual beneficiary nomination are complementary solutions to the problems which claimants can face if the direction of death benefits has been left to chance.”

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