Graham Murphy explains how the Law Society has been raising the profile of private client practitioners among consumers
The Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) and Wills and Inheritance Quality Scheme (WIQS) accreditation teams recently met with hundreds of prospective first-time buyers at the First Time Buyer Home Show in central London. Attendees ranged from young professionals, newly-weds, and friends buying their first property together, to more mature buyers looking to invest in property for the first time.
But what many of them likely had in common was a lack of foresight in writing or amending their will to reflect their changing circumstances, which makes the Ministry of Justice’s (MoJ) recent public awareness campaign, entitled “Planning for the future: Choice not Chance”, all the more meaningful.
The MoJ campaign encourages people to plan for the future by writing a will or making a lasting power of attorney (LPA). A recent YouGov survey indicates that nearly 90% of those aged between 25 and 34, the typical age bracket for a first-time buyer, have not made a will. Across all age groups, the figure is still remarkably high, at around 6 out of 10 people.
The Law Society is also trying to encourage consumers to think about safeguarding their family’s financial future. Our current advertising campaign that started last autumn is targeting consumers across six key practice areas, including wills and inheritance. Since the start of 2015, consumers have been exposed to over 8.6 million web adverts and a major AdWords campaign that has been running on Google and Bing. Together with more traditional outdoor advertising on billboards and bus shelters, the campaign has helped to drive nearly 15,000 Find a Solicitor searches per month by consumers looking for advice from solicitors specialising in wills and inheritance.
Alongside our advertising campaign, the Law Society is reaching out to organisations such as Dying Matters, DeadSocial, Remember a Charity and Will Aid. DeadSocial and Remember a Charity, for example, are promoting the scheme via their own search databases, whilst the WIQS team is currently developing with Dying Matters a range of additional materials for consumers and healthcare professionals, which will be available shortly. If your firm has seen a rise in enquiries relating to will-writing and other later life issues, or at least a raised awareness among your clients of the importance of planning for the future, I hope that this is down in part to our continuous efforts to raise the profile of private client practitioners and WIQS members alike. If you would like to join the WIQS scheme, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or visit www.lawsociety.org.uk/WIQS.