Today’s Wills and Probate 5th Roundtable Round Up

The fifth roundtable event was a huge success and we would like to thank everyone that was able to attend.

The event was held at the vibrant Engine Shed meeting rooms, the diverse amalgamation of Wills and probate professionals turned up ready to tackle a range of divisive issues surrounding mental capacity.

The day started with introductions and those in attendance described the overwhelming success they had enjoyed in 2018; where many firms had been nominated for British Wills and Probate Awards and achieved sizeable growth. Many were also proud that they had overcome issues around recruitment, risk and compliance.

Following the introductions, Andy Riddle, Managing Director of Professional Deputies, captivated the audience whilst talking about managing the property and financial affairs of vulnerable adults.

After highlighting the implications of not having an LPA or Deputyship in place and the issues of acting as a professional Deputy, the table became extremely animated.

Debates concerning exploitation and financial abuses carried out by trusted Deputies and the role of probate firms in assessing capacity resonated throughout the group and continued during the break.

Clive Ponder TEP, Company Director of the Countrywide Group, commented: “Days like this are really useful. The issues around mental capacity, the role of the OPG and the risk associated with exploitative deputies are things we can take that help us tweak the way we operate. Really good day. Never attend one of these events where I do not come back to the ranch and apply some of the ideas that have been discussed”

Ben Furlong and Estatesearch, kind sponsors of the event, educated the group by addressing the risks associated with Probate and Estate Administration; detailing the benefits of using financial asset searches and credit and liabilities reports.

Tim Farmer, Managing Director of TSF Consultants, then dug out the flip chart, informing the group about issues surrounding mental capacity and the ‘three key elements’. Again, animated discussions arose regarding a Wills and Probate representative responsibility in assessing for mental capacity when completing any work on a customer’s behalf.

The importance of keeping records and questioning a client for mental capacity were discussed at length along with the financial implications associated with this additional work. Issues surrounding exposing your client’s and firm’s reputation to contentious probate was then debated.

Kate Burt, Senior Compliance Manager for Legal Eye, highlighted: “the importance of not isolating the issue of mental capacity to the practitioner’s assessment of the client. All client facing staff should be alive to potential capacity issues and vulnerable clients generally. Regular training should be provided including training on the firm’s vulnerable client policy and procedure. A webinar on the subject would be a cost-effective way to ensure that all staff are trained and alive to potential flags and guidance on what to do once an issue is detected.”

During the afternoon session, the group discussed the Today’s Wills and Probate publication and where they see us developing in the future. The comments were gratefully received and will help in reshaping future content. The day closed with some group work with final editorial discussions and feedback.

Dennis Gardener, IPW Chair, said: “Every time that we have a roundtable, the experience is really good. I thought the brainstorming sessions today concerning where the industry is and how it is going forward is extremely useful.”

Trevor Worth, Managing Director and Founder of Portcullis Legals, commented: “There was a real eclectic mix in the room and it was a true reflection of the skills, knowledge and expertise that the sector has, and perfectly illustrates the point that face to face conversations always stimulate innovation, best practice and opportunities for all.”

The event highlighted a real thirst and desire for continued, regular collaborative discussions. For more information on future Roundtable events, please email


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