Wills and Probate | Certainty National Will Register Blog

Certainty Expert Webinar: Legal Eye Ltd – “Compliance and Risk – are you complying with the Code of Conduct?”

September 19th, 2014

Legal Eye

Presented by Legal Eye Consultants – “Compliance and Risk – are you complying with the Code of Conduct?”

We are pleased to announce that the next instalment of Certainty Expert Webinars 2014/15 will be presented by Legal Eye Consultants on Thursday 9 October 2014 at 1pm.

Certainty Expert Webinars are presented by a selection of key professionals and have been carefully created to assist you and your business – identifying risks in the wills and probate practice area, providing you with guidance and solutions to manage those risks and helping you to secure and enhance your future probate work.

Please join us for our highly informative, complimentary 1 hour CPD accredited webinars. Places are limited and allocated on a first come first served basis so click here to register for the October webinar now.

Emma Robins of Legal Eye Ltd offers practical advice and tips for Compliance and the role of the COLP.  Emma will also explore the COLP and Fee Earners’ responsibilities for Wills & Probate matters emphasising the importance of Customer Due Diligence and how this reduces risk overall.

Webinar imageAgenda

The SRA Code of Conduct
The role of the COLP
Common pitfalls found in the Client Care process
Risk Management
Wills – identifying the risks and managing them

So, take advantage of the latest Certainty Expert Webinar – click here to register

If you have any questions about Certainty services or membership please contact us…..

t: 0845 408 0404 e: solicitors@certainty.co.uk

More solicitors (including Certainty members!) urgently needed for November’s Will Aid campaign

September 11th, 2014

Will Aid 2Will Aid, the UK’s top charity Will campaign, is urging solicitors who want to give something back to their community to sign up to this year’s campaign.

Throughout the month of November, participating solicitors write basic Wills for their Will Aid clients without charging their usual fee. Instead, clients are invited to make a voluntary donation to the Will Aid charities. The suggested minimum donation is £95 for a single basic Will and £150 for a pair of mirror Wills.

Thanks to the on-going partnership between Will Aid and Certainty, clients can register their Will for free with Certainty so that it can easily be located when needed. Certainty members participating in Will Aid are reimbursed with the Will registrations they use during the campaign to avoid using their own registrations.

Last year’s campaign encouraged around 24,000 people to make a proper Will with a participating solicitor, and £2.1 million was raised for the Will Aid charities.

Shirley Marsland, Campaign Manager, commented:

We anticipate that around 70,000 people will try to get an appointment for November with a Will Aid solicitor. Usually our solicitors can only accommodate about one third of this number. This means that thousands of people are disappointed and that law firms around the UK are missing the opportunity to meet thousands of potential new clients. This is why we urgently need more solicitors to join us.”

Please sign up today online at www.willaid.org.uk/register.  Call us on 01460 271178 or email enquiries@willaid.org.uk

The National Association of Funeral Directors & Certainty

September 5th, 2014

NAFD

We are pleased to announce that our exclusive agreement with the National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD) has been extended until 2020. Certainty has been providing Certainty Will Search and Certainty Will Registration for several years now.

This has had two positive effects:

  1. Firstly, immediately after a death the family can search to see if a Will has been registered, and if so, they can see if it contains funeral wishes and act accordingly.
  2. Secondly, a by-product of this process has been that solicitors who have registered their Wills with Certainty have seen an increase in the probate work they receive.

Case History

In a very sad case, a holocaust survivor had made a Will to prevent being cremated. A Certainty Will search was undertaken after the funeral had taken place. The search found the Will but unfortunately by this time the deceased had been cremated.

NAFD Search – What Happens?

The process is no different to the usual Certainty Will search;

  1. A search is undertaken at the point of arranging the funeral (the search may notify you that a funeral is pending).
  2. A Will is identified on Certainty the National Will Register.
  3. Certainty does not disclose this information to the ‘searcher’!
  4. The searcher’s details are passed to the law firm who holds the registered Will.
  5. The law firm requests the death certificate and verifies the searcher’s entitlement to view the Will prior to disclosing its existence.

NB. At this stage the ‘searcher’ will be seeking to understand if there were any funeral wishes contained within the Will. Following this course of action you should arrange a suitable time after the funeral to discuss the probate matter.

UPDATE: The relationship has developed to another level whereby Certainty Will Search now forms part of the educational syllabus for training and development of Funeral Directors.

Approaching five million Wills are now within the system and this figure grows daily.

For further information please contact us t: 0845 408 0404 | e: solicitors@certainty.co.uk


Guest Contributor: Trudy Rogers, Rogers Legal – Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013

August 29th, 2014

rogers-banner

Trudy has worked with Certainty for many years, previously as a partner at a Basingstoke law firm and now as owner of Rogers Legal. Here she offers some helpful thoughts as a guest contributor….

Trudy says: “Under the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation & Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 we have to give clients 14 days grace for cancellation so why not use Certainty during this time?

Trudy RogersWe can’t commence our services before the 14 days are up without the client waiver. However, if we draft our terms of business/confirmation of instructions appropriately wouldn’t it be a good time to use those 14 days to take instructions for a Certainty search on a potential probate or on a Deputyship application? The instruction for the Certainty search (including section 27 notices for a probate) could be a fixed fee transaction on an execution only basis but this would not be the same as engaging our services for the rest of the legal work.  If the client signs up to the Certainty search to be carried out within the 14 days it shows we are being pro-active, finding appropriate information and hopefully with a better chance of keeping the client. It’s important to show that we can look after clients and their interests whilst keeping to the spirit of the regulations”.

To contact Trudy call 01635 569670 or email trudy.rogers@rogers-legal.co.uk

For Certainty enquiries or questions please contact gerard@certainty.co.uk

Certainty Expert Webinars… Lockton Companies LLP | Legal Eye Consultants

August 19th, 2014

Webinar imageWe are  pleased to announce that the next instalment of Certainty Expert Webinars 2014/15 will be presented by Lockton Companies LLP.

Certainty Expert Webinars are presented by a selection of key professionals and have been carefully created to assist you and your business – identifying risks in the wills and probate practice area, providing you with guidance and solutions to manage those risks and helping you to secure and enhance your future probate work.

Please join us for our highly informative, complimentary 1 hour CPD accredited webinars.
Already available to Certainty members, we are pleased to extend this service to all firms and solicitors; places are limited and allocated on a first come first served basis so click here to register for the September webinar now.

Lockton Logo

Tuesday 9 September 2014 at 1pm
Presented by Lockton Companies LLP

Subject: “Risk Management as an effective business tool – a Professional Indemnity perspective”

Calum MacLean, a solicitor and Risk Manager for Lockton’s Professions’ clients, examines the risk profile of law firms – with a particular focus on Professional Indemnity claims for Wills, Trusts and Probate practitioners  – and explores how this information can be harnessed as an effective business management tool, to aid Professional Indemnity renewal and the operation of the business as a whole.

The Agenda

  • An overview of the claims profile of the profession
  • Common themes in Wills, Trust and Probate claims
  • Claims – preventative measures
  • Lessons learned from claims and complaints
  • Practical application of risk management in your business
Register now

Legal Eye

Also, coming soon………Thursday 9 October 2014 at 1pm
Presented by Legal Eye Consultants

Subject: “Compliance and risk – are you complying with the Code of Conduct?”

Agenda to follow.
Click here to secure your place.

For more information please call Certainty on 0845 408 0404 or email info@certainty.co.uk

Register now

Certainty Expert Seminars, Free CPD – The London Gazette Thursday 7th August 2014

July 28th, 2014

Certainty Expert Webinars:

The London Gazette | Lockton Companies LLP | Legal Eye Consultants

Following the highly anticipated launch of Certainty Expert Webinars with its exclusive Gill Steel, LawSkills, Webinar – we are  pleased to announce the next instalment of Certainty Expert Webinars from our 2014/15 programme.

Not to be missed – Certainty Expert Webinars are presented by a selection of key professionals and have been carefully created to assist you and your business – identifying risks in the wills and probate practice area, providing you with guidance and solutions to manage those risks and helping you to enhance your future probate work.

Please join us for our highly informative, complimentary 1 hour CPD accredited webinars.
Already available to Certainty members we are pleased to extend this service to all firms and solicitors; places are limited and allocated on a first come first served basis so click here to register for the August webinar now.

London GazetteThursday 7 August 2014 at 12 noon

Subject: “Section 27 Notices and You” presented by The London Gazette

This webinar will take you through the London Gazette’s new website and identify how Certainty and the London Gazette are working together to streamline the process of placing Section 27 Notices -  it will also identify how The London Gazette provides an effective tool in managing risk and how it continues to meet the changing needs of its users.

The Agenda:

  • What does a Section 27 Notice do?
  • What protection does it provide?
  • Case studies – how Section 27 Notices work in practice
  • How do I place a Section 27 Notice and what else do I need to know?
  • How Certainty and the The London Gazette are working together
Register now

Lockton LogoTuesday 9 September 2014 at 1pm
Presented by Lockton Companies LLP

Subject: “Risk Management as an effective business tool – a Professional Indemnity perspective”

Agenda to follow. Click here to secure your place.

Legal EyeThursday 9 October 2014 at 1pm
Presented by Legal Eye Consultants

Subject: “Compliance and risk – are you complying with the Code of Conduct?”

Agenda to follow. Click here to secure your place.

Regist

Stephensons Solicitors LLP: “We register all Wills. It’s good for our firm and our clients value the protection..”

June 26th, 2014

stephensons-solicitors

Stephensons Solicitors LLP is a full service law firm with offices in Altrincham, Bolton, Leigh, London, Manchester, St Helens and Wigan. Rob Gore, now Wills & Probate Partner, took the decision to join Certainty, as a Founding member, back in 2009.

Rob says “in 2009 Certainty was a ‘good idea’ but had not yet achieved any real recognition, endorsement or credibility. Joining did involve a ‘leap of faith’ at the time but we could see that the services were designed to assist our Wills & Probate work and clients, and we liked the idea of the marketing functions as well”.

Rob Gore

Rob Gore

Since then, Certainty services have become standard process for thousands of practitioners around the UK with Will registration and Will search, in particular, adopted as routine functions to protect the law firm, testator, executors, loved ones and beneficiaries.

Rob continues “Will Registration is an important part of our Will package. We have integrated it into our service, including it as part of the Will price. Client’s can opt out of the service if they wish but no-one does. Why would they? It is a simple, confidential process designed to protect all stakeholders of the Will. We know that, sometimes, an original Will is difficult to trace for many reasons and Will registration is a simple precautionary measure to guard against that. Stephensons regard this as best practice and Professional Indemnity providers see it as good risk management. We register all Wills. It’s good for our firm and our clients value the protection”.

Understandably solicitors are keen to protect client privacy and confidentiality. Some have raised concerns over this issue in relation to Will registration saying “but my client will not want their Will accessible to anyone who wishes to search the National system”. This is not how Certainty works. Rob says “Will registration generates an encrypted, secure record of where the Will is. We always keep the original, registration just records location. When a search takes place, Certainty does not disclose any information to the searcher, rather they inform us of the search, providing us with the searchers details, so that we can take the next step”.

Finally, Rob says “we see Will registration as a simple, effective process to look after the Will, the testator, their family, executors and beneficiaries”.

For more information please contact gerard@certainty.co.uk or call 0845 408 0404

‘Free Will registration? Yes, we had a fantastic response…’

June 19th, 2014

‘Free Will registration? Yes, we had a fantastic response…’

Gavin Glover and Martin Priest, owners of Glover Priest Solicitors, joined Certainty in 2012 having recognised the combined business opportunities and risk management measures available within membership. It was a simple decision for them.

Gavin Glover

Gavin Glover

Glover Priest Logo

Gavin says ‘Our business is formed as a collective of 6 previously independent practices, all with their own Willbanks, so we understood the potential issues arising from Wills not being found, clients ‘losing contact’ with the original Will or beneficiaries not finding us’. He continues, ‘As Wills & Probate practitioners we saw the logic of the National Will Register, though we hadn’t appreciated that the National Will Search service also covers unregistered Wills. This is a major benefit prior to estate distribution and we understand that the question of Certainty now appears on our Professional Indemnity forms’.

Martin explains how they also saw an unexpected benefit, ‘What we found really interesting was the opportunity available to our business and clients through the free Will registration offer. Certainty provided us with free registrations for our entire Willbank and we set about uploading the data onto the TOUCH Willbank Management system, which we did by bringing in a school leaver. This allowed us to offer the free service to our clients and, yes, we had a fantastic response, with around 5,000 of 8,000 clients contacting us to take up the offer. Needless to say many of them needed to review the Will while others asked us to produce an LPA’.

Martin Priest

Martin Priest

Gavin confirmed the impact on the business, ‘we saw this as a excellent opportunity to give something back to our clients, while cleansing our data, strengthening client loyalty and producing business… all at the same time. And many of our clients confirmed the free registration offer was the prompt they needed to contact us to amend and update their Will’.

Certainty helps law firms control and manage their Wills & Probate business while implementing risk management and, so, avoid the increasing risk of negligence or probate claims, which are now 2nd highest in the legal profession and projected to rise. Martin says ‘we, as a business, and our clients, find it reassuring to know that Will registration protects traceability of the Will and, therefore, our probate work, whereas Will search protects us, and executors, from a claim should a Will, or a later Will, be found after distribution’.

For more information please email gerard@certainty.co.uk or call 0845 408 0404

Law Society Private Client Annual Conference & Certainty Expert Webinar with Gill Steel

June 18th, 2014

Don’t the years fly by?! We are once again very pleased to announce our support by sponsoring the Law Society Private Client Section Annual Conference; this is our 6th year running!

It is quite an occasion and a fantastic opportunity for the Certainty team to be able to meet Certainty members face-to-face, and also provide information to those who are interested.

Important Note
The ever-popular Certainty Sheaffer Pens will be making another star appearance this year, but in addition, we have added a rather stylish and very useful stainless steel Certainty thermal flask. Visit the stand and pick up your complimentary flask!

Also…
Did you notice that Certainty has launched a new value added service – Certainty Expert Webinars?
Due to popularity, we have extended the attendee limit for the upcoming, complimentary Certainty Expert Webinar with Gill Steel. Scroll down for details or click here to secure your place.

We look forward to seeing you on the day.

Certainty Expert Webinar: Gill SteelGill Steel

‘the Unknown unknown’

Tuesday 8th July 2014 at 1pm

Certainty Expert Webinars is pleased to provide the opportunity for you to join Gill Steel, LawSkills, for a highly informative, complimentary 1 hour CPD-accredited webinar.

The Aim:

To support probate practitioners in estate administration by considering the particular risks associated with an unknown Will and suggesting some practical approaches to minimise mistakes.

The Agenda:

  1. The unknown Will or intestacy
  2. A little bit of psychology!
  3. The costs of unnecessary litigation
  4. Professional negligence issues – modern expectations

Tools to reduce the risks of litigation & professional negligence.

Secure your place

GUIDANCE NOTE: Advising a client on the need to undertake a Will search using Certainty.

April 21st, 2014

Guidance

GUIDANCE NOTE: Advising a client on the need to undertake a Will search using Certainty.

To help explain to a client the need for a Will search, here is some suggested narrative that you can use when giving advice in your client care letter, on your website or in other marketing materials.

Protection of/for Executors & Administrators – To help explain to a client the need for a Will search, here is some suggested narrative that you can use when giving advice in your client care letter, on your website or in other marketing materials.

Executors and administrators have the legal authority, responsibility and duty to distribute the deceased’s estate and can be held financially responsible for any mistakes made through any breach of duty.

Issues can arise if the estate is distributed on an assumed intestacy basis (without a Will) and a Will comes to light after distribution, or if the estate is distributed in accordance with the Will you hold, then a later Will comes to light.

To help prevent these issues, we advise clients that we undertake a Certainty Will search on their behalf. A Certainty Will search will check Certainty the National Will Register for ‘registered’ Wills and performs a regional search for ‘unregistered’ Wills with law firms in the areas where the deceased may have made a Will i.e. where they lived or worked during their lifetime.

A Certainty search helps to protect against claims brought about through the distribution of an estate on an assumed intestacy basis or not proving the last Will The Certainty Will search provides proof that reasonable steps have been taken to search for a Will or prove the last Will and therefore helps protect against claims arising for wrongful distribution.

The search is an allowable and recoverable disbursement from the estate. A search with Certainty the National Will Register for ‘registered’ Wills is £33+vat or to check for both registered and unregistered Wills using a Certainty Will Search Combined it is £90+vat.

If you have found a ‘Certainty Certificate of Will Registration’ then we would advise that a search of the Register is undertake, if not then we would recommend a Certainty Combined Will Search is undertaken.

Note to Practitioners – to perform a search log onto to www.certainty.co.uk

Guidance 2

HOW TO GUIDE: Perform a Certainty Will search
1. Log on to www.certainty.co.uk
2. Select the required type of search;
3. a) ‘Combined Will Search’ if a registration
certificate is not presented – Enter the details
requested, namely deceased details: name,
DOB, date of death, last known address and
any previous addresses.
b) ‘Register Will Search’ if a registration
certificate is presented – Enter the Certificate
or Registration number plus the above details.
4. Enter your details
5. Enter payment details
6. Confirm details and submit search

HOW TO GUIDE: Perform a Certainty Will search

1. Log on to www.certainty.co.uk

2. Select the required type of search;

3. a) ‘Combined Will Search’ if a registration

certificate is not presented – Enter the details

requested, namely deceased details: name,

DOB, date of death, last known address and

any previous addresses.

b) ‘Register Will Search’ if a registration

certificate is presented – Enter the Certificate

or Registration number plus the above details.

4. Enter your details

5. Enter payment details

6. Confirm details and submit search

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