Below are the answers given by Royds Withy King in the Will Writing Survey, which you can use to compare to others.
How is your service delivered
Service description Our aim is our create lasting relationships with our clients that provide value for them over time. As expert Will writing solicitors, we help our client protect the things they’ve worked hard for. Whether their estate is simple or complex, we can make the process of making a Will cost-effective and straightforward. We ensure our client has the whole picture when it comes to making tax effective gifts under the Will, such as to charity, and are sensitive to our clients’ wishes to remember a cause that may be close to their heart in the most appropriate way.
In what ways do you assess your clients’ mental capacity? We follow best practice when it comes to assessing a client’s capacity to prepare a Will. All our practitioners are familiar with, and follow wherever appropriate, the principles set out in the Golden Rule. Where necessary, a certificate of capacity from the client’s GP will be required. In addition, we have a dedicated team specialising in court of protection and mental capacity, within our private client department who are able to provide extra support where necessary if this issue appears to be relevant to a client.
What processes do you follow to avoid undue influence? We follow best practice when it comes to taking instructions for a client’s Will. This ensures that a client is always seen alone and full enquiries are made into the rationale of the gifts being made and the key relationships in our clients’ lives. In addition, we have a dedicated team specialising in contentious probate and trusts within our private client department who are able to provide extra support where necessary if this issue appears to be relevant to a client.
What do you offer as part of your will-writing service?
• Legal advice
Comments:We are also able to offer: (1) overall estate planning advice – particularly in relation to Inheritance Tax planning and any lifetime planning, including the use of trusts, together with the associated tax consequences and (2) Lasting Powers of Attorney
To what extent are solicitors involved in your Will-writing service?
Comments: The vast majority of practitioners in our department are solicitors, almost all of whom are STEP qualified. In addition, we have a small number of highly experienced chartered legal executives who are able to advise on Wills and probate matters.
To what extent are other qualified legal or financial professionals involved in your Will-writing service? Drafting – As above, we have a number of legal executives within our department who are all experienced at advising clients and drafting Wills.
How does your service deal with complex estates (such as those with own business or property abroad, or a trust)? Our department is large enough to be able to boast of a number of sub-specialisms (as referred to above) and includes particular expertise in the area of trust and estate planning, to include off-shore clients and estates. We are familiar with and well equipped to advise on foreign assets and business property and the most appropriate way to deal with them in a Will.
Do you prompt your clients to consider leaving gifts to a charity? If so, how? If the client has not already mentioned the possibility of leaving a gift to charity then we will ensure it is raised as an option in the course of our Will meetings. In doing so, and where appropriate, we explain the associated tax advantages to the client. On occasion, this can be very illuminating for the client; particularly where the reduced rate of Inheritance Tax is available.
What provision does your service make for secure Will storage or future access? We always offer to store our clients Wills. We have never charged for storing our clients Wills and so far are very pleased to be able to continue to offer this service free of charge.
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 insured for a sum significantly in excess of minimum SRA requirements.
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? Not precisely although we do track how many enquiries convert to new matters generally. I am not aware of how we do this but if you require further information please let me know.
How does your product deal with / identify complex Will structures e.g. where legacy is 2nd death contingent gift? This is dealt with in the initial meeting and explaining how the Will will work on their death.
Are you able to determine customers demographic information e.g. an average age of your client? Yes this could probably be analysed. It is fair to say that most of are clients are in their retirement and/or elderly.
If working with a partner charity, are you able to provide monthly activity reports? Not applicable.