The chief legal ombudsman, Adam Sampson, has called on the government to extend its jursidction to unregulated will-writing and probate providers – while also highlighting continued shortcomings among regulated providers.
A will-writer is planning to use his new alternative business structure (ABS) licence to expand into the conveyancing market, Legal Futures can report. Further, an IFA is planning a specialist multi-disciplinary ABS with a law firm focusing on the over-55s.
The satisfied probate client: face-to-face advice from a solicitor on a fixed fee, says major survey…
Consumers of probate and estate administration services are significantly more satisfied when they receive their advice face to face, rather than by e-mail, post or telephone, major research has found, while those on fixed fees pay a third less than those charged by the hour.
A regional firm of accountants is planning to become an alternative business structure (ABS). Becoming an ABS will allow Spofforths to improve the private client service currently provided by an in-house legal team and in time become a legal brand in its local market.
AIM-listed In-Deed has today become the first business to announce its explicit intention to invest in law firms. The company is looking for approaches from “successful and profitable provincial legal practices” to help make In-Deed a leading consumer legal brand.
The Insolvency Service last week presented petitions to wind up three will-writing businesses. The news comes as the Legal Services Board issues a call for evidence on whether to make will-writing, the entire probate process and estate administration reserved legal activities.
Some lawyers and financial advisers may be exploiting bereaved families by overcharging for probate, over-50s organisation Saga has suggested – pointing consumers to its own, cheaper, legal services arm instead. It says it will charge 1% of the estate, compared to up to 5% by other providers.
The Legal Services Board today launched its first statutory investigation into whether to extend the scope of regulation, after its consumer panel recommended making will-writing a reserved activity. It goes further, however, by looking at what measures are required to protect consumers in the probate and estate administration markets as well,
Conveyancing, immigration advice, preparing wills and powers of attorney, and estate administration should all become reserved legal activities, a leading thinktank has recommended. However, the report from the Legal Services Institute – headed by Professor Stephen Mayson – says this work should not be the sole preserve of the legally qualified.
Daniel Curran looks at how ABSs could improve the offering in the wills and probate market, and where probate genealogists fit in with the mix. On the face of it, he says, this should be one area where the benefits of the ongoing reform of legal services regulation should be most keenly and most beneficially felt by consumers.