100% employee ownership for wills and probate provider

In a deal with its former owners, Trust Inheritance has followed firms like Gateley and Stephens Scown, and introduced employee ownership.

The firm, a member of the Institute of Professional Willwriters (IPW), has been transferred to an employee ownership trust (EOT) in a multi-million pound contract.

Stating that the move was intended to “empower employees” was Alan Spencer. The Director of Trust Inheritance EOT also stated that that it would give an “exit strategy” to the firm’s shareholders.

He mentioned that all 19 members of staff at Trust Inheritance, depending on profits, would be able to earn tax-free bonuses reaching £3,600, following the sale to the EOT.

Over the next 20 years, Trust Inheritance would also pay off the undisclosed purchase price.

“We need to keep Trust Inheritance profitable for both its staff and its shareholders,” said Spencer.

Mr Spencer continued to stated that the major shareholder and founder of Trust Inheritance, was Stephen Jenkins, who owned around 60% of shares. Private individuals own the remainder.

Since it was set up in 1990, he stated that more than 270,000 wills and lasting powers of attorney had been written by Trust Inheritance. It had also specialised in providing support for families seeking to use DIY services after a death.

For the last two years, the firm had not needed to do any marketing externally, according to Mr Spencer. Estate planning had also been outsourced to law firms which included Bradford practice Premier Solicitors and Welsh-based Hugh James.

He stated that outsourcing was a more profitable option for the firm: “Firms like Hugh James do hundreds of estate administrations a year and they have the IT side of it sorted. An awful lot of leg work is involved. We tried it ourselves but found it was not worth the time and effort.”

Mr Jenkins and Operations Director of Trust Inheritance, Kylie Simmonds, join Mr Spencer next month in launching MyDigiSolutions. Separate to Trust Inheritance, MyDigiSolutions will be aimed at large companies such as accountants and law firms, and provide a range of online services to their clients.

Mr Spencer also stated the inclusion of an app in order to assist consumers in calculating how much professional help they would need as well as their preferred method of delivery.

The help includes information on lasting power of attorney and making a will, forming part of a selection of general advice following someone’s death.

Mr Spencer commented on the changing nature of legal services, stating the traditional way of doing things was falling out of favour:

“More and more people want to do things on their mobile phones.

“Our aim is to give consumers more choice. Do they want to transact online? Or would they rather speak to someone over the phone, or face to face? The consumer is in control.”

He also stated that a “digital filing cabinet” would be included in the suite of online services, providing a safe storage location in the Cloud, prior to being accessed by “trusted people” such as the owner’s children.

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