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What You Need To Know - Funeral Directors Offering Probate Services

02 May 2019

Lauren Smith

wills and probate

The past decade has seen huge changes for Funeral Directors.

Historically, most Funeral Directors were independent and often family run businesses.

Now, almost all Funeral Directors belong to large national chains.

The move to a more corporate environment has seen Funeral Director chains look at new ways of making more profit, including offering legal services, particularly Probate and Estate Administration.

Naturally, a Funeral Director is the first point of contact on the death of a relative. The Funeral Director chains realise that this puts them in pole position for offering Probate and Estate Administration services to bereaved relatives and have created their own legal services companies to take advantage of this opportunity.

How does it work?

Quite simply, when or shortly after arranging a funeral, you are likely to be offered a free consultation on Probate and Estate Administration. This is essentially a sales pitch to promote their own legal services company.

What is wrong with this?

We have received feedback that some of the tactics used, could be described as ‘hard sell’. There are even reports of people receiving these sales calls on the day of a funeral, which would understandably cause great distress.

We are aware that their legal services companies claim to be faster or cheaper than other Probate service providers, and this is simply NOT TRUE.

In some cases, these legal services companies are unregulated and have unqualified staff, leaving you with little recourse if things go wrong. They could try to sell you services which are unnecessary and could miss out vital parts of the Estate Administration. We have seen examples where a salesperson has forgotten to advise clients about the need to change ownership of the property following a death so when our client has come to sell a house it isn’t actually in their name. This causes unnecessary costs and delays as well as bring up painful memories all over again.  

We think this process is morally questionable and is taking advantage of a person’s vulnerability having lost a loved one.

On the other hand, Solicitors are regulated and cannot use sales tactics like cold calling. Solicitors also have compulsory insurance to protect their clients.

What should I do?

If you receive a call, there is no reason not to listen to what they have to say.

The important thing is DO NOT commit. Tell them that you will consider all of your options before making a decision.

Remember, you are probably talking to a salesperson, who will pressurise you to sign up. It is always difficult to say no to salespeople, particularly when you at your lowest point, but be strong.

Then take as much time as you need to look at all of the options you have. Speak to your Solicitor. Talk to your relatives and friends who may be able to recommend someone. Think about what you may be able to do yourself without having to pay someone to do it.

When you have looked at all of your options, you can then make an informed decision on how to proceed.

For more information regarding Probate and Estate Administration visit: https://www.taylorbracewell.co.uk/personal-law-services/wills-probate-and-trusts/

If if you wish to discuss your options, please do not hesitate to contact our Team in Doncaster or Sheffield on (01302) 341414  or (0114) 272 1884 or enquire by e-mail at personal@taylorbracewell.co.uk.