All that glitters…

10 July 2017

If you were asked to name a creative and customer focused industry or profession, it’s a fair bet that the legal profession wouldn’t come anywhere near the top of the list.

The perception of lawyers in general, rightly or wrongly, is of a jargon filled, nine-to-five service that suits the law firm but not the clients, and with potentially expensive fees for every letter and phone call, let alone the lack of fixed fee clarity for the advice or documentation provided.

Enormous barriers

It’s clear that these are enormous barriers that prevent the general public from doing anything at all. Apathy and inertia rule but the legal profession need to do much more to break these perceptions down.

This is where innovation in the sector is helping to radicalise the offering for consumers that are thinking about putting Wills in place and importantly, considering leaving gifts to those charities that are close to them.

With the arrival of Artificial Intelligence (just put IBM Watson into your search bar) and many processes and services now becoming more commoditised, there has never been a better time for consumers to select the platform to engage with the law that suits their pocket and most importantly, their lifestyle.

Take control

The days of stuffy lawyers are falling away thank goodness, particularly in the areas of Wills, probate and conveyancing, to be replaced by forward thinking, business-minded and customer-centric firms.

With the imminent launch of online service portals like iWill and the entry into the legal services market by entrepreneurs via the Alternative Business Structure model (where non lawyers can own an interest in the law firm), there has never been a better time for consumers to take control and decide which method of preparing their Wills suits them best.

Whilst many consumers may prefer the online technological offerings, there will always be the need for face to face interaction particularly where individuals need bespoke advice and guidance if their affairs are not straightforward.

In this case a fully qualified Trust and Estate Practitioner is the best and most qualified source of advice and with many TEP’s qualified to give advice on charitable giving, it is a great place to look for expertise.

Fit for purpose?

We are living in what is termed as the 4th Industrial Revolution, and technology is racing forward and we should all embrace this. However, with a caveat in mind if you are considering Wills and leaving gifts to charities.

If you see a shiny website offering to do everything for next to nothing, just check that their qualifications are in place to assist you. As anyone can set up a Will-writing business with little or no technical training or checks on their suitability, a shiny website can reaffirm the “all that glitters isn’t gold” proverb.

Check with STEP to see if they are appropriately qualified and if they are not, walk away and find someone who is. Whilst technology can bring about convenient opportunities for the consumer to easily gift donations to charities via a Will, it is also allowing unscrupulous firms and individuals to provide a service that may not be fit for purpose.

As always, caveat emptor and search out qualified, insured and experienced professionals whether face to face or online.


Trevor Worth MBA  TEP  F.IPW, CEO & founder at Portcullis Legals and fellow of the IPW.