Interview with the Society of Will Writers

This interview was recorded before the sad death of Brian McMillan was announced.

 

In an interview with Today’s Wills & Probate, Marketing Director Anthony Belcher discusses the challenges the will writing sector faces, and what the Society of Will Writers is doing to support members and the sector in general.

Given the reported surge in will writing enquiries has the SWW seen any increase or decrease in membership?

We’re actually running at a higher member rate than in January, which has taken us a little by surprise

There is a demand for wills and that is translating into our membership.

Asked if the driver for membership was that there are new entrants and people wanting to train up, Anthony had this to say

What Guidance is the society providing to members and what sort of requests are you getting regarding the support members want and need at the moment?

The big thing at the start of the crisis was how people were going to be able to carry on conducting appointments and seeing clients; the SWW were quick to issue guidance on taking instruction remotely, whether it be by video call or telephone.

One of the things that draws people to willwriting is the fact that they get to go out and meet people, so the restrictions has been tough from a practical and mental wellbeing point of view.

We were clear that certain measures needed to be in place and the technical team were able to put together comprehensive guidance on working from home and continuing to draft wills.

Covid-19 has really brought out the creativity of our members with wills signed on car bonnets, drive thru wills as we’ve seen reported in the press. We know of one willwriter who takes some garden furniture with them to enable them to sit out in the garden to conduct the signing.

One of the biggest frustrations is the failure from government to react. Hopefully there is a weight of evidence now that should encourage some modernisation given the challenges presented by Covid-19

Did the SWW membership see the reported surge in enquiries in March and April?

There’s been a bit of a mix. Some members have; one member at a regional meeting discussed that they were operating at 170% of their usual expected business. Some have responded slower to the practical challenges presented which has had an impact.

We’ve not had reports of our members struggling, it’s been more about the adoption of technology to support their business.

What are the plans for the SWW over the next 6-12 months

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