Practitioners from across the wills and estate planning industry came together on Thursday evening at the “State of the Nation” Summit to discuss a myriad of topics related to the future of the industry.
Amongst the topics of discussion at the Summit, which was hosted in Birmingham by Today’s Wills and Probate and held under Chatham House Rule, was the future of will reform.
The Law Commission’s wills reform project, which was restarted following a pause in 2019, aims to address a range of issues.
This includes the fact three in five adults do not have a will, but also that the current process – which was formalised in the 19th century – does not reflect the needs of modern society where there is a higher incidence of dementia amidst an ageing population; an increasing number of cohabiting couples; and a reliance on technology that is not catered for in the will making process.
Regulatory reform also took centre stage following the publishing of the SRA’s “Understanding the Unreserved Market”report into the unregulated legal community which accounts for around 6-8% of annual legal spend. Of the nearly 4000 unregulated entities identified by the report, around 1/4 deliver wills and estate planning services.
No consideration of the the current state of play would be complete without a discussion around probate delays, which continue to plague firms and, alongside the human cost and impact on grieving families, wrap up valuable cashflow.
And technology and innovation is very much on the mind of practitioners as the discussion moved to the potential impact of artificial intelligence on willwriting and legal services.
The evening started with a drinks reception, sponsored by WillSuite, before a three course dinner, followed by discussion and debate. Wrapping up David Opie, Managing Director of Today’s Media, publishers of Today’s Wills and Probate said:
“The State of the Nation Summit serves to remind us that we all share similar experiences, frustrations, and goals. Coming together as a community ultimately provides the opportunity to discuss best practice, how we can best support one another, and improve things as practitioners at the coal-face. Thursday evening’s event was a brilliant example of this, and we look forward to hosting the Summit again next year.”
British Wills and Probate Awards
The event is set to take place at a brand new venue, Manchester’s Kimpton Clocktower Hotel, on Wednesday 11th October 2023.
The awards – now in their sixth year – are recognised as an unrivalled event that identifies and celebrates the very best firms and individuals working in the private client and estate planning profession.
The Awards will also welcome a brand new headline sponsor in CTT Group as well as returning networking sponsor Exizent. Also returning will be our revered host Jennie Bond.