The Institute of Professional Willwriters (IPW) has won approval for a unique alternative business structure (ABS) that will enable its members and others to access related legal services for their clients, and share in the fees generated.
Integrated Legal Services (ILS) has been licensed as an ABS by the Council for Licenced Conveyancers to provide probate and conveyancing services.
ILS is wholly owned by the IPW, which said that as the legal practice does not have investors or shareholders demanding a return, “it will be able to share a greater proportion of its revenue with those who generate that revenue”.
Its services are available to all will-writers, not just IPW members, as well as other providers who cannot themselves undertake reserved legal activities.
IPW chief executive Sally Brown explained: “This is a fantastic opportunity for will-writers to be able to offer their clients more services. Clients who trusted the will-writer with drafting their will can now go to ILS on that will-writer’s recommendation to get additional legal services that complement the will writing and estate administration business.”
Will-writers can refer clients to ILS to obtain a grant of representation, in return for a share of the “competitive” fee. The introducing will-writer will then be free to administer the estate themselves and charge their client directly for that work. For those will-writers who do not want to administer an estate, ILS can suggest a will-writer who would – and the pair can share the fees generated.
ILS is also offering estate administrators a low-cost conveyancing service for the sale or transfer of estate property, and again they will share the fee.
Ms Brown, a solicitor with more than 10 years’ experience, is ILS’s head of legal practice and will provide the legal services herself, although the IPW has agreed to staff up ILS if demand is there. Any profits will go back to the fund the IPW’s training and other quality assurance work.
In due course the IPW plans for ILS to offer conveyancing services to home buyers and sellers more generally, and other reserved legal activities.
If the Council for Licensed Conveyancers is eventually successful in its ambition to grant reserved litigation rights, for example, ILS could move into providing related litigation advice, such as contentious probate, Ms Brown said.