What Does The Future Hold For Will Writing And The Private Client Sector?

Despite the relaxing of some lockdown measures, new technology will continue to be essential for firms to provide vital services to clients.

The working practices we have all adapted to accommodate the challenges posed by Covid-19 will still remain very present, with many clients still preferring remote instruction taking over face-to-face. The innovative adaptations within the Countrywide Legacy software to accommodate these changes have been huge over the last few months.

We are also all aware just how important it is to protect our clients’ wishes as set out in their Will, against the possibility of a future challenge. In light of this, we strongly recommend using the Will Clarity package, which ensures you provide your clients with a valid Will whilst effectively giving them a voice after their demise.

This means you can automatically produce a document that includes:

  • Details of the initial contact made
  • The client’s understanding of the revocation of earlier Wills
  • Exactly HOW, WHEN and WHERE the instructions were taken
  • Risk assessments including confirmation of testamentary capacity and no undue influence from any third parties
  • Clarity of intend to confirm knowledge and approval
  • Details of the client’s wishes and surrounding circumstances behind their decision-making process when writing a Will.

This statement is electronically signed by the client remotely via a secure website or at the meeting. Best advice dictates that Will clarity statement is produced at the time the Will is drafted so all facts are easily brought to mind. During current circumstances, we have worked hard to overcome the issues posed by Covid-19, whilst still ensuring the Will remains valid.

So, we’ve gone one step further with our technology…

You can now revisit client Wills which do not currently benefit from having the Will clarity statement in place, for the following scenarios whilst remaining compliant:

  1. A Will clarity statement for a Will that has already been prepared and executed (with the Advisor present).
  2. A Will clarity statement for a Will that has been prepared already and executed (without the Advisor being present).
  3. A Will clarity statement for a Will that has been prepared already but not executed.

When do you use the “stand alone” statement?

In order to produce the statement you will be required to answer the same questions as though you are drafting the Will today. It is worth ensuring that you have all relevant information to hand to allow you to accurately complete the Will clarity statement before proceeding and where this is lacking, consider drafting a new Will.

Wills already executed with the Advisor present

In this instance, the Will clarity statement will also include the statement of execution, i.e. the software will ask all of the execution questions relevant to the execution statement within the Will clarity statement, so all in one process but only where the consultant was present for the execution.·

Wills already executed without the Advisor present

If you were not there when the Will was signed, then you cannot complete the statement of execution questions yourself and the testator (who clearly was present) needs to do this themselves.

This can be handled in two different ways, either by confirming electronically online OR by completing a paper instruction sheet.

Please note: using a paper instruction sheet is last resort and only applicable for those clients who don’t have internet access. For clients who do have internet access, they will be sent clear instructions on where they can locate and complete the execution form (and sign) either by text or email.

So, the stand alone Will clarity statement will be prepared by you, the Advisor and posted out to your client as usual, with the statement of execution being a separate process.

Wills not yet executed

Although this situation will be rare, it is worth noting that you still have the opportunity to provide clients with a Will clarity and execution statements after the Will has been drafted, as laid out in the points above and depending on whether or not you will be present at the actual Will execution.

For more information or to register for a free trial, call us today on 01926 514 392 or email us on [email protected]

This article was submitted to be published by Countrywide Tax & Trust as part of their advertising agreement with Today’s Wills and Probate. The views expressed in this article are those of the submitter and not those of Today’s Wills and Probate.

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