I act for an executor who found £20,000 in the home of the deceased. What should I do?

I act for an executor in the administration of an estate. The executor found £20,000 cash in the deceased’s home and is concerned as it appears to be a large sum to be kept at home. What should I consider?

In advising the executor, you will need to consider whether your concerns amount to a suspicion of money laundering under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA).

For that to be the case, you are required to have a suspicion that the funds represent existing criminal property.

You should make enquiries of the executor to ascertain if there is a legitimate explanation for the cash, supported by evidence, which removes your concerns that the funds may be tainted.

You may also wish to consider whether the presence of cash in the house fits in with what you know about the deceased.

If after consideration, you are suspicious about the source of the money, you should consider your reporting obligations under POCA and consider making a report to your firm’s money laundering reporting officer (MLRO).

The MLRO should consider the question of privilege and look at making a suspicious activity report to National Crime Agency (NCA) as you and the executor will require consent from the NCA to continue dealing with the estate.

You may wish to discuss your obligations with our Practice Advice Service on 0207 320 5675.

For further information, see the anti-money laundering guidance for the legal sector.


While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information in this article, it does not constitute legal advice and cannot be relied upon as such. The Law Society does not accept any responsibility for liabilities arising as a result of reliance upon the information given.

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