It sounds like it would be sensible to check the correspondence and attendance notes relating to the matter and/or speak to the person who drew up the Will, to see if that sheds any light on what was intended.
Having said that, the reference to “monies standing to the credit” suggests to me that the draftsman had in mind the sort of “account” where a person could make cash withdrawals and potentially go overdrawn, which lends weight to the idea that the legacy refers only to cash bank accounts, not investment accounts. Admittedly, one could encash part of a portfolio and make a withdrawal from a capital cash account.
In simple terms, what I usually think of as a “bank account” is a type of “loan account”: the customer lends money to the bank; the bank keeps a record (or “account”) of the sums lent and the sums repaid to the customer.
However, it could be that draftsman is referring to any “account” (or “record”) with any bank or building society, regardless of whether that is of the simple “loan account” arrangement, or whether that is something more sophisticated, such as a portfolio of investments (which, itself, will normally have its own “account number” and be associated with one or more “cash accounts”).
Paul Saunders’ comment about a cash ISA not being a “bank account” is not one I have heard before. If correct, it makes the position even less clear to me. I wonder if anyone has a reference for this point?
On the other hand, I would not naturally have considered Premium Bonds to be a “bank account”, although I consider them to be “cash-type” investments. On reflection, Premium Bonds involve the customer “lending” money to the government in return for entry into the prize draw and with the option at any time to take repayments of the money lent, with no risk to the value of the amount lent (which cannot go up or down, other than by further lending/repayments). This does sounds like a bank account to me.
The moral of the story seems to be that one should be careful about definitions in Wills if there is any risk of ambiguity! In this case, I would look again at the attendance notes and correspondence.
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