Research has found that the top will-writing companies in the UK are taking a ‘noticeable’ share of the market.
IRN Research’s Wills and Probate Consumer Research Report 2020 noted that for the first time, fixed fees account for the majority of probate fees. The research company notes that on first glance, “nothing much seems to have changed in the wills and probate markets” in 2019. Wills and probate is still skewed towards older consumers, and law firms and solicitors remain the biggest provider of advice services. Take-up of DIY will writing options remains low.
Signs of change and a shift
However, the research notes there are some signs of change, and a signalling that there is a shift in place. The report is based on responses from 1,208 people. Based on client feedback, IRN Research estimates that the top four will writing companies—Co-operative Legal Services, Which? Legal, Irwin Mitchell and Slater & Gordon—take a combined 15-18 percent share of the market. They expect that share to increase. And for the first time, there are signs that those leading brands will be able to take a more noticeable share of that market. Fixed fees are now the majority of fees paid in the probate market, thanks to competition increasing the pressure on prices.
The DIY option
Feedback from the overall national sample, IRN Research points out, suggests that plenty of adults would be prepared to write their own wills using online-only will writing services, although this is difficult to predict. The research also found that consumers were interested in non-legal brands that sell will-writing services either directly or through other services, especially financial services companies. Barclays was the leading brand of interest to consumers.
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The report states that start-up companies with innovative IT solutions are creating some market disruption, and that there is competition from non-solicitor professionals, such as accountants, chartered legal executives and licensed conveyancers. More than six out of ten consumers assume that the wills and probate sector is regulated, an increase on the previous year—which will affect and possibly compromise consumer choice. In order to self- regulate and ensure standards are maintained, Finders International are members of the International Association of Professional Probate Researchers, Genealogists and Heir Hunters (IAPPR). Finders International offer a Missing Will Service and Missing Will Insurance. To find out more, please visit our website. Alternatively, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone: 020 7490 4935