PLG – Our Story

Probate. Most of us at some point in our life will face losing a loved one.

In turn, many of us that experience this loss will end up taking responsibility as the executor to the estate.

The death of a family member or friend is listed as the most stressful event a person will experience, dealing with the sale of a property also appears within the top ten too.

So, what happens when you are hit with both?

Additionally, what if you are not a beneficiary of the estate?

Maybe you are the legal expert handling the estate administration and must provide evidence as to why you have made the decisions which you have. This is a constant cause of stress for probate professionals all across the country, who rely on estate agents, insurance companies, clearance and maintenance firms to help deliver whichever services are required on each matter that lands on their desk.

In January 2020 PLG was introduced to legal professionals across England, Scotland, and Wales as the solution to their probate property problems.

Over the last four and a half years PLG has become recognised as the leaders in this field, offering probate property support to law firms, probate practitioners, genealogists, individual practitoners (and indeed their clients), with our easy to engage services that work as an extension of the legal team we are representing.

Almost everyone knows PLG, and its co-owners, Darren Leggett and Helen Graham. Not everyone knows what drove them to establish the company, and why what they do is so close to their hearts.

This is their story.

“We know what it is to lose someone” Helen said. “The problem always was that there were limited options for an executor, whether they be professional, or as I was, the wife and lay executor.

The stress related to having to deal with everything at once, pressure from the estate agents when dealing with the valuation of our house, with communication constantly being dropped as no one really knew what was going on just demonstrated that the process was flawed and needed a fresh take on things”.

Darren and Helen have been working together for almost 15 years and have been working directly with the legal sector for around a decade at the time of writing this article.

“When the idea hit to look at providing a direct service to probate professionals there was a lot to consider. How did the service need to look? What would work for those who would look to engage with us? Was there anything we needed address in particular to make people’s lives easier”.

Darren then spent 6 months travelling around the country meeting with Private Client Solicitors and business owners that operated specifically within the sector to gain answers to these questions.

“It was a lot of meetings, a lot of time away from home, and a lot of petrol! But not only did I learn what was needed to make this new idea work, I made some great connections. People that went on to become friends aswell as clients.

People loved that there was a new way of solving an age old problem, and they embraced it!”

So why set up PLG when you were already involved in the sector?

“As I said, knowing what it is to lose someone makes you asses things. It also very much makes you understand what is not acceptable, as much as what you do hope for from the companies in place to assist you through the process.

You don’t want to pay more than you need to. You don’t want to feel like a number, or that you are just going through the motions of a process you feel is completely out of your control. You really want to be able to just rely on people, and where you want to be kept updated and involved in what is going on, you need the communication and where required, guidance, to fit in with you and your individual needs” Helen Graham.

Darren added: “We always worked to the highest of standards, this is what we were promising to our clients and what my own personal drive was too – however when the ethos changed at the company we were involved in, why we were doing what we were became distorted. Raising fees & cutting corners just led to complaints, and I certainly felt the effect of this in a big way. As the person who had introduced this brand-new process to legal teams and individuals throughout the UK, who had agreed service levels and made promises to mirror their own services, naturally I felt the force of our shortfalls.

My mental health suffered because of what was happening, and with my phone constantly ringing and emails coming through with clients, and as I said, friends, asking what the hell was going on – and having zero ability to make any positive difference to what was happening, I crashed. Heavily”.

“After taking 6 months off to work on getting well, Helen asked me if I wanted to go again. We had the strongest working relationship, and both had the same vision, so we decided to go for it!”.

We refer to our vision a lot, so here it is. We were passionate that executors deserve better, we wanted our company to be seen as the leading service provider to the legal sector. That our team are the best in the business, that we are considered an extension of the company /solicitor referring our services. We wanted to be regarded as an ‘Employer of Choice’, and a ‘Premium Brand’ offering the ultimate experience delivered by people that understand how delicate matters such as Probate and Court of Protection can be for the customer.

However, it is one thing to have a vision, but how do you ensure you are able to deliver it. Simply put, it starts with the company culture.

“Our team know that they are respected, listened to, and cared for. We want everyone to come into work feeling happy, motivated, and as passionate as the founders of the company to be part of the company’s journey. Additionally, they know that there is always an open door should they need anything, and that they are supported completely both inside and outside the working environment”. Helen.

From establishing our culture, we were able to implement our ‘core values’. These were our list of how we work, the promises we make to our clients, and in essence, our standards.

Compassion and Respect

Are the two things you will always receive from us. Having been in your shoes, we understand intimately the struggles and difficulties of being an executor.

Connection

Teamwork and mutual trust form the foundations of who we are. By connecting with you, understanding your needs, and finding common ground, we can ensure we are always working towards the same goal.

Diligence

We will always ensure you benefit from our involvement, and that throughout you will see first-hand our determination to provide a quality service no matter what the obstacles.

Credibility

It is important to us to display honesty and integrity in everything we do. This enables us to develop lasting relationships.

Honesty

This is our guiding force, ensuring we deliver a service that reflects how we would want to be treated ourselves.

Kindness

By being kind and giving back to society we are able to have a positive impact on other people’s lives.

Since 2020, the PLG team have become an essential part of the process for the probate property part of estate administration.

“Our clients see that we are innovators, bringing new ideas to the sector that add value to what we do, and therefore what they can offer their own clients. By sharing their values and understanding how stressful the role of a professional executor can be, we are able to fit in with their needs depending on the estate we are being asked to assist with,” said Darren.

Helen added “By combining a passion for what we do with our knowledge, drive and expertise, we have started making a real difference to the way probate property is dealt with.

We can ensure the beneficiaries receive the most amount of money from what is usually the largest asset within the estate by using a marketing strategy that guarantees the highest price is achieved for every property we sell, whilst keeping related costs to a minimum.

At the same time we are making life for the professionals easier, by handling matters they don’t need to be and just as importantly, returning their fee earning time to them”.

There is more to PLG than their probate property expertise though.

The PLG Newsletter is issued every quarter and contains information regarding property sector and legal sector updates. Additionally, there are interviews with service providers to the private client sector, and a Spotlight Section which brings to the forefront one particular company, event, or matter that we feel will be of real value to our readers.

Darren has also spoken at events, including regional legal groups and national conferences, and more recently was the Expert Panel Host for the Legal Growth Conference.

The Synergy CPD Conference 2022 was a specialist event that saw PLG partnering with Gill Steel, to provide a new way of delivering training to solicitors. Not only was the event sold out, it was hailed as ‘the best CPD Conference I have ever attended’ by the majority of the attendees.

“Client is a word I am not too fond of, we prefer to say the people who work with us are ‘friends of PLG’. Our team share this mindset, which Helen and I truly believe has helped our company see the success it already has, and why we are continuing to attract more ‘friends’ who want the support of a company that promises to put people first, and is striving to put an end to executor stress”.

To find out more, visit PLG’s website, visit: https://theplgroup.co.uk/

If you wish to discuss a new matter you would like to refer to PLG, or to subscribe to their newsletter call or email the team on:

T: 0330 124 7434

E: info@theplgroup.co.uk

Want to have your say? Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read more stories

Join over 6,000 wills and probate practitioners – Check back daily for all the latest news, views, insights and best practice and sign up to our e-newsletter to receive our weekly round up every Friday morning. 

You’ll receive the latest updates, analysis, and best practice straight to your inbox.

Features