A recent research report into wills and probate activity has come up with some interesting findings in relation to the world in which Argo works.
We all know that making a will is not up there on the priority list and it is one of those things that we will get round to doing. Particularly for the younger readers this is further down the list than most things as it only begins to become important as we get older.
Research has shown that it is commonly the over 55s who make wills. Dealing with the administration of an estate is also usual for people in this category, although this is hardly surprising with ageing parents.
What is pleasing to note is that law firms still tend to be the first port of call for people who need to make a will or deal with estate administration. This is good as we see far too many problem documents, missing documents and disasters as a result of not receiving good advice from appropriately qualified advisers.
It is disappointing to see from research however that there is still confusion over who is regulated or unregulated within this area and what this means for clients. We are a regulated firm. This means that we have rules we have to follow. We are insured and if we do something wrong our insurance is there to provide redress for our clients. There is also provision for what happens if our firm ceases trading. This is not the case with unregulated providers. It is unusual for them to have insurance cover like or to the levels that regulated firms have to have and there is hardly every provision for what happens if the firm ceases trading.
Covid has had an impact this year on people making wills and dealing with estate administration. It is surprising to see that only 4% of those making a will were persuaded to do so by the virus. This however is borne out by what we have seen within the office. During 2020 priorities have been elsewhere. If making a will was on the list to do it got done otherwise the virus made little effect. Clients have become used to online and video calls and seem to think this will continue as part of future advice and it also seems that people are getting their heads around the online probate application process. We hope and have all fingers crossed that the online process will improve as you have seen from previous articles the problems there currently are with it!
It seems that the most important things for people considering making a will are:-
cost of will
quality of service
experience of adviser
friendliness and helpfulness of staff
ease of preparing the will
Whilst we know that the cost of making a will it upmost in a customer's mind as it is one way of comparing like to like we find that the quality of service and friendliness and helpfulness of staff is what brings customers to us, rather than costs. One thing the report did highlight was the human emotion and connection when making a will. This is really important to customers when they talk to people about making a will. This is particularly so at the moment as the lawyer may be the only person to have made contact in recent months.
Whilst we understand costs are a factor we believe that you get what you pay for. Here at Argo we will not just make your will or administer an estate. We will look after you. We will support you and make sure that you and your family are okay and have the tools to move forward and deal with whatever comes your way. We often provide advice outside making a will or administering an estate which is valuable in many ways. We believe that forging an excellent working relationship with your adviser is priceless and that the benefits of this far outweigh the costs of that particular job.
With this in mind why not choose someone you can build a relationship with who will be there to help you in the future with whatever comes your way.