The 25th IPW Annual General Meeting and Conference – what you missed

This year’s Institute of Professional Willwriters (IPW) and Institute of Scottish Professional Willwriters (ISPW) General Meeting and Will Writing Academy Conference held today (17th March 2016) has been a great success. Having attracted around 115 members to attend the event at Drayton Manor Hotel in Staffordshire, the IPW can safely say it was a very worthwhile event for all attendees.

Being my first IPW event, I didn’t know what to expect. I was thoroughly impressed by the amount of engagement from both delegates and the array of sponsors who joined us, as well as the great selection of insightful and engaging guest speakers. I hope to provide those of you who couldn’t attend with a brief overview of the day, and it would be lovely to see more of you at the next will writers’ conference.

The IPW and ISPW began the day with the Annual General Meeting, of which they were celebrating their 25th anniversary with some delicious branded cupcakes. The financial address, which covered the three entities of Integrated Legal Services (ILS), Willwriting Academy and the IPW, revealed an overall positive result, with membership income up 17% in 2015. This is said to have been down to a surge in associate membership. Furthermore, it was revealed ILS now has a new lifetime trust offering and the IPW will soon be looking to expand their membership market to solicitors. With regulation back on the agenda, the IPW are said to have been heavily involved in the debate and have had discussions with a number of legal regulators and authorities. That said, some are predicting that there could be a reduction in regulation in the future.

The General Meeting was followed by a session from Johnston Park McAndrew and DAC Beachcroft, focussing on Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII). Common will dispute cases were listed, including spousal joint tenancy where the estate had not been severed, lack of knowledge on tax implications, and the classic disappointment of beneficiaries. PII policies are used to claim losses by third parties and it was advised a notification of a claim or circumstance (where a situation may give rise to a claim) must be made as soon as possible.

One of the key takeaways from the session was the encouragement of will writers to spend more time taking instruction and to make it clear why particular beneficiaries have been chosen. The Ilott v Mitson case is still a hot topic and thorough note-taking was highlighted as an effective way to help avoid such disputes from disinherited family members.

After the break was the main session of the conference, led by Professor Lesley King. There was some negative feedback towards the new residence nil rate band (RNRB) and Professor King explained the implications and changes to expect. This will apply to those who die on or after 7th April 2017, when the whole or part of the deceased’s residence is “closely” inherited. This means the property must be given to a lineal descendant or direct descendant of the spouse or partner. Those who have or will pass away before 7th April 2017 (at any time) will be able to pass on their RNRB allowance to their spouse or partner.

Professor King also discussed the EU Succession Regulation that, although not upheld within the UK, is still significant for those who own property within the European Union.

Having seen a demand from members for more technical information and professional updates, we are delighted to announce the IPW will now be sending the Today’s Wills & Probate newsletter to all its members. For more information on our weekly newsletter, or to share your news and views, please contact me directly at [email protected].

If you’re interested in becoming an IPW or ISPW Member or attending the next IPW and ISPW General Meeting and Willwriting Academy Conference, please visit www.ipw.org.uk

Today's Wills and Probate