Supporter In Focus: The Property Ladder Group

In a series of Supporters in Focus pieces, we are thrilled to introduce our supporters of The British Wills & Probate Awards 2020.

This year the awards will recognise a sector which has tackled the challenges presented by Covid-19 head on. Alongside headline sponsor Arken.Legal we look forward to recognising achievement, highlighting progression and championing innovation.

This week we profile Court Protection Team of the Year sponsors The Property Ladder Group.

We’re delighted to have The Property Ladder Group (PLG) on board with the third year of The British Wills & Probate Awards. First of all, tell us who you are and what you do

PLG are the newest and fastest growing property service provider in the UK, we work with law firms across England, Scotland and Wales assisting solicitors with matters such as probate and court of protection property support. Our solution offerings include HMRC compliant valuations, vacant property and contents Insurance, chattel valuations, clearance and of course property sales.
Our MO is to provide compliant support that ensures the highest quality of service, whilst keeping communication at the heart of everything we do.

What have The Property Ladder Group been doing over the past 9 months since The British Wills & Probate Awards 2019?

We opened our doors in January, so this year has all been about building our client base and getting our name out there. Darren Leggett, one of our co-founders, has a very strong reputation within the industry and is known and trusted by firms across Great Britain so we have started on a great footing. In addition we have been inventing new technology that will not just catapult PLG ahead of our competitors, but our clients ahead of theirs too.

Prior to the Covid-19 outbreak what do you think is the biggest challenge the sector has faced over the last 12 months?

The biggest challenge the sector has faced, in our opinion, is the ever growing delays waiting for probate to be granted. Prior to the Covid-19 outbreak reports suggested the average wait is 12-14 weeks, given the continued closure of registry offices and staff cuts in those that do remain open, delays were inevitable. In addition, the government was looking at implementing a probate fee increase which lead to an additional spike in probate applications. Not only does this create extra and indeed unnecessary stress for families, it adds tremendous pressure to the professionals working day to day to try and provide a service.

And what innovations were you seeing in the market?

The clients PLG work with are continuously streamlining their service offerings to ensure cost effectiveness and professionalism are delivered. Working with our team, together we have been able to speed up the valuation process and cut costs to executors, which in turn has seen more money in the beneficiaries pocket, which is exactly what the deceased wanted.

Our Deputy clients have worked with our COP department to ensure their paperwork is not just comprehensive but compliantly watertight. This approach to the work is innovative in the sense that all matters are covered with professional, non-biased reports and paperwork that comes with a full aftercare service, something the industry has been crying out for!

What has the impact of the Coronavirus meant for The Property Ladder Group?

There has been no impact to PLG in the slightest. We had set up a disaster plan that ensured we are able to continue a uninterrupted service should we not be able to work from the office. This plan has worked perfectly, even though we hadn’t expected to implement it for the reasons we had. The only hold up has been the ‘pause’ placed on the property market by the government, but what has come from the pandemic is a fresh approach to how we do business and interact with our clients.

What are your predictions for the sector in 2020 and beyond

Unfortunately the risk of more DIY probate is real, with self help books and websites popping up to encourage non professionals to tackle what is ultimately a qualified responsibility for good reason.

In addition, there are service providers that see this as an opportunity to grow and develop their own business, even though it is in contradiction to their solicitor and probate practitioner clients.

However, I also believe that with the backlog of probate valuations and the additional stress this will put on friends and family acting as executors, there could be a turn in attitude with solicitors being relied on to assist with the legalities.

Deputies will continue to have the increase in workload and ongoing responsibility, this I don’t see tailing off at all over the coming year.

Generally the outlook is positive, certainly from the data gathered both prior to, during and following the initial lockdown (at the time this question was answered), solicitors have seen an increase in the number of Wills written and probate cases coming through. We feel the housing market will continue where it left off in February, with a steady growth of instructions to market and sales numbers matching.

Thank you to The Property Ladder Group for their support for The British Wills & Probate Awards 2020.

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