Thursday 6th October saw the formal launch of a new membership body for estate planning practitioners.
Delayed since the Summer due to train strikes and the August holiday exodus, the launch event for the recently founded BEST Foundation was hosted at Worton Hall, Oxford.
BEST, which stands for British Estate and Succession Trust Planning Practitioners, describes itself as “the UK’s newest, forward-thinking, self-regulated non-profit Foundation for Estate Planning professionals.”
BEST have already been vocal in the sector. In May, an open letter signed by 50 practitioners was presented to the Office of Public Guardian (OPG) in response to delays across the service. The Foundation have continued an open dialogue with the OPG in the months since and now have regular meetings scheduled to feedback on behalf of the industry and their members.
Over the summer, in response to a piece in Today’s Wills and Probate, BEST have laid bare their concerns about the pre-paid probate plan market following the regulation of funeral plans in July 2022. A “Campaign to Challenge Pre-paid Probate” is now underway on the BEST Foundation website with over 70 industry signatories already.
At the launch event, one of the Founding Directors and Chair Trevor Worth explained how the Foundation would focus on providing surety for clients with the “Client Guarantee” and developing the fundamentals of business success, in addition to the technical aspects of estate planning.
Speaking at the launch, Trevor, who is MD at Portcullis Legals and has previously been Vice Chair at the Institute of Professional Willwriters, said:
“This is about embracing the change from Dinosaur to Digital. Face-to-face advice is still very important in our sector but the deliverance of high quality advice using technology and software to drive improvements in service and costs is important. More focus needs to be placed upon growing our members’ businesses with entrepreneurship and innovation at the core.”
The Foundation has attracted a number of individuals from around the estate planning sector to serve on its Advisory Board. Alongside Trevor is Vice Chair Charlotte Ponder of CTT Group based in Leamington Spa who added:
“It’s a really exciting time to work in private client, but with demand growing and set to further increase we need to attract candidates into the industry. It’s a progressive and dynamic field in which to work, but it sometimes feels like a secret – we need to shout louder about the fulfilling careers the sector can offer and showcase the work being done by individuals and firms to increase efficiency and modernise processes across the board. So much is set to change in the next few years and we look forward to supporting individuals and firms on that journey.”
The event called for people interested in joining the advisory board to come forward and join current members Corin Holness, Philip Pamment, Hardeep Gill, Chris Whittington, Jonathan Maskew, and Louise Sackey.