Hear from Stanford Wills, winners at the British Wills and Probate Awards 2020

Hear from Stanford Wills, winners at the British Wills and Probate Awards 2020

On Thursday 22 October 2020, professionals from across the wills and probate sector came together to celebrate the successes and achievements of the industry is what has been a challenging year, at the British Wills and Probate Awards 2020.

The awards, which was back for it’s third year, took to the virtual stage and was hosted by ex-Royal correspondent, Jennie Bond, alongside headline sponsor Arken.legal (UK), and champagne sponsor Executor Solutions.

500 people watched the winning organisations take the crown this year. The full list of winners is available here. The online event is available to watch here.

Let’s hear from Community Involvement Award winner, Stanford Wills

About the Community Involvement Award

This award goes to the firm with an organised approach to corporate social responsibility. The winner will be able to demonstrate a tangible and consistent programme of community involvement over the last 12 months. Judges will look for commitment and passion in making a difference to the winner’s local community and for a strong connection between the activities undertaken and the firm’s values.

The winner of this award must demonstrate:

  • The organisation’s philosophy and policy withregards to corproate social responsiblilty
  • Evidence the organisation’s activities focused on CSR, community involvement and charity initiatives over the last 12 months
  • Positive outcomes resulting from the activities that have had a real impact on the intended groups
  • A statement as to planned approach and activities

Stanford Wills were shortlisted alongside:

  • Oliver & Co (Highly Commended)
  • Simpson Solicitors

During the judging process, the judges decided that Stanford Wills were the worthy winners saying:

 “A fantastic well evidenced submission showing that size does not matter but their commitment and willingness should be applauded.”

How did you feel winning the Community Involvement award this year?

We are absolutely delighted, shocked, amazed, overjoyed and it truly means the world to us as a small business to be formally recognised for the work we do within our community.

So, who are Stanford Wills? What do you do?

We are a small business with two main client bases – a B2C & and a B2B arm. The B2C arm is where myself and my colleague Ann-Marie advise clients on estate planning legal services including wills, power of attorney, trusts, inheritance tax, funeral plans etc. On the B2B side we have c. 25 advisors spread across England and Wales that we provide drafting, advice and training for with regards estate planning legal services. Many of the advisers are financial advisers but some are estate planners.

How has your firm developed in the last 12 months and navigated the added complexity of the coronavirus pandemic?

We have always offered consultations remotely via Skype but found the take up to be minimal. Covid changed all that and with clients becoming familiar with using Zoom and Teams to communicate with their friends, family and work we have seen a huge rise in clients wanting consultations via Zoom. We also launched an online wills service for anyone wanting to write a straightforward will and be bale to do so from the comfort and safety of their home. We’ve also added to the number of charities we support typically through make a will schemes or free legal clinics.

What’s next on the cards for you?

We are growing and diversifying. We are currently re-branding to Stanford Legal Services which will better reflect the wider range of services we offer apart from wills and power of attorney etc. We have formed various partnerships which will enable us to offer a far wider range of legal services to our clients. We will also be growing the number of advisors that we support through our B2B arm. We are also in discussion with more charities that want to work with us and to help them launch make a will schemes and encourage legacy donations. Watch this space!

What advice would you give someone thinking of joining the Wills and Probate sector?

It’s a great sector to be in and I always advocate do what you love doing. If your heart isn’t in it then you wont be successful and that goes for whatever industry you are in. I love learning about law and helping clients and advisors often in challenging situations. It’s so rewarding to know that the advice we have give them is making a tangible difference to their lives in a positive way. The wills and probate sector is changing and with every change there is opportunity, so I’m very excited to be in the sector right now.

Why is the British Wills and Probate Awards event, which recognises excellence and highlights achievements in the industry, so important to the industry, especially this year?

For us a small business, it allows our work to be formally recognised and to ‘punch above our weight’. It’s a great marketing opportunity and get you in front of people that you wouldn’t otherwise meet. It gave us something to aspire to and this year in particular it was sparkle of light that kept us going when there were so many dark days and barriers put in our way. The awards gave us something positive to focus on and the feeling of elation when we heard we had won is something that will remain with me for the rest of my life.

Everyone at Today’s Wills and Probate congratulates all those who were shortlisted in this year’s awards.

More information about the British Wills and Probate Awards can be found here.

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