Co-op Legal Services

Below are the answers given by Co-op Legal Services in the Will Writing Survey, which you can use to compare to others.

How is your service delivered?
• Online / mobile
• Telephone

Service description
Co-op Legal Services is one of the largest will writing providers in England & Wales, offering clients across England and Wales the opportunity to write their wills through online and telephony channels within an environment fully regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

Our wills service ensures that every client discusses their circumstances and wishes with our legal team before we draft their will to ensure that they take advice and understand the impact of their instructions. We also undertake capacity checks on every client and this is recorded on their file for future reference.

All our wills are charged at a fixed fee and will writing appointments are available Monday to Friday between 9 am and 8 pm to provide maximum convenience for clients who are unable to find time within normal working hours.

Our service is backed by The Co-op Group’s ethical values of openness, honesty, social responsibility and caring for others.

In what ways do you assess your clients’ mental capacity?
We have a rigorous, question-based test which is conducted on every occasion that Will instructions are taken. The questions ensure that the individual understands what writing a Will achieves and that they are not suffering from any mental or physical illnesses which would impair their decision making ability.

What processes do you follow to avoid undue influence?
All appointments to take Will instructions are booked in advance. Appointments cannot be made on behalf of anyone else and can only be cancelled by the client.

We inform clients that they must be alone at the time of giving their Will instructions and check this with the client in every instance. At a client’s request another individual can be in the house but they must leave the room whilst instructions are being given.

If we believe that a client is being influenced and or reading from any prior prepared document at any time we will terminate the appointment. If we merely suspect any influence we will make a second unarranged call to the client to reconfirm instructions and ensure that the wishes they give are the same.

What do you offer as part of your will-writing service?
• Legal advice

To what extent are solicitors involved in your Will-writing service?
• Drafting
• Final check

To what extent are other qualified legal or financial professionals involved in your Will-writing service?
• Drafting
• Final check
• Final check

How does your service deal with complex estates (such as those with own business or property abroad, or a trust)?
We regularly draft wills for clients with business assets and wills containing trust structures such as life interest, discretionary or vulnerable persons trusts. We only act for clients who are domiciled in either England or Wales. With regard to overseas assets, where appropriate we are able to cover these under the English will however there are circumstances where it is necessary to limit the scope of the will and advise the client to seek advice about making a separate will in the jurisdiction where the asset is located.

Do you prompt your clients to consider leaving gifts to a charity? If so, how?
Yes, we always prompt clients to consider leaving a charitable gift as part of taking their instructions. If we are working in partnership with a charity we will agree the wording used for the prompt.

What provision does your service make for secure Will storage or future access?
Co-op offers storage for all of our clients’ original wills that we write. These are held off site in a secure fire proof managed facility. The storage is completely free to the client for their lifetime with no annual fees, retrieval fees or other hidden charges.

How is your service delivery regulated?
• Solicitor Regulation Authority

What formal protection have you got in place for your clients, e.g. liability insurance for will-writing or provision of legal advice, please specify level of coverage?
We are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and carry indemnity insurance to the value of £5 million.

Are you able to track impact and report on progress e.g. how many inquiries lead to Wills and how many include a charitable gift? How do you do it?
Yes, we are able to track referrals from business partners including charities and whether the client leaves a charitable gift. This information is recorded within our CRM system when instructions are being taken and can be reported on.

How does your product deal with / identify complex Will structures e.g. where legacy is 2nd death contingent gift?
We are able to report on the value of the pecuniary legacy, the percentage share of any residuary gift and also whether the charitable gift is either contingent or restricted.

Are you able to determine customers demographic information e.g. an average age of your client?
Yes, this information is captured and can be reported on e.g. age, postcode, marital status etc.

If working with a partner charity, are you able to provide monthly activity reports?