By Ciara Phillips – Solicitor, Estate Planning Customer Engagement Lead
The current crisis we find ourselves in has brought many changes not just to our lives, but also to the businesses throughout our Co-op. We’ve all seen the images of queues of shoppers outside supermarkets, so we know the demand for groceries has increased, but that’s not the only thing we’re seeing increased demand for.
In Co-op Legal Services we’ve seen a significant increase in demand for clients wanting to access our online and telephone will writing services. We’ve also launched a video meeting service which is proving very popular.
This increase in demand may seem sad, but writing a will is something a lot of people put off and the current situation has made us all re-evaluate what’s important. Lots of us will be missing our family and feeling very thankful for our loved ones, so it makes sense that people are making sure their affairs are in order so they can feel safe in the knowledge that should the unthinkable happen their loved ones are catered for.
Our estate planning team are working incredibly hard to get these in place as quickly as possible.
A few weeks ago, I saw a post on LinkedIn about NHS staff receiving advice around getting a will, it’s something everyone who has any assets (property, money, valuables) should do, especially if they want something to be left to a specific person. I then spoke to a doctor who confirmed that he’d recently been given advice to get a will. He was struggling due to the already increased demand on will writing. In addition, many staff across the NHS are working more hours, lots of them unsociable and most law firms are only available during the traditional office hours of 9am-5pm.
I started speaking to my colleagues in the estate planning team about what we could do to help. I was overwhelmed by the amount of offers I had from colleagues to make themselves available for NHS workers out of hours. We’re also aware that there’s enough demand on the time of our NHS heroes, so we’re happy to flex and reduce the timing of our usual instruction meetings to fit in with their schedules. We’ve now got a number of extra appointments available each week which will be ring-fenced for NHS colleagues, they can all be flexible to suit the individual.
We’re also happy to change our usual process (we usually post physical documents) by emailing out PDF versions of wills so the documents can be printed at home or in work, along with instructions on how to sign them properly. This should hopefully save even more time.
Our teams are all working incredibly hard to service these workers, as we’re all grateful for the work they’re doing on the front line.
If you know someone who’d benefit from one of the ring-fenced appointments, they can contact our estate planning team on 0161 256 9042 and if they let us know they work for the NHS we will be happy to work with them to get an appointment time that suits.