APS Legal & Associates Info
APS Legal & Associates Ltd - Will Advisors and Assured Probate Services: Review
If you've read a few of our other articles, you'll know there is usually something unique or alternative about the firms we choose to review. Either they are unbelievably niche in their target market, have achieved impressive growth during hard times, or have managed to get high praise in an industry fraught with hazards (e.g. property matters).
APS Legal & Associates are no less stand-out-ish. Whilst a quick glance of their website may make it appear as just another Will Writing service, there are actually quite large differences between the setups behind each of those websites.
Most websites make claims like this using terms such as "estimated", "possibly", "one of the", "up to" and so on. So how as a front end website browsing consumer can you tell which claims are potentially true?
If the will writing service you're looking at is run by or at least backed by a law firm, then they will absolutely state this. If you don't want to scroll through the whole sales pitch, then just scroll down to the bottom of any page. Typically they will state "ABC Wills is run by ABC Solicitors Ltd and regulated by the SRA No.000001" or something similar. Once you have the name of the law firm you can use the various resource we already recommend such as searching the relevant Law Society's website for background and qualification details.
But will writing is actually a far less regulated industry than you might think. There are hundreds of will writing service providers advertising on the web that have never even attended a course, much less attached themselves to even a self-regulatory organisation.
This statement on the APS site lends credence to their claim about being very large, but also would surely imply a very well established, authorative and effecient structure to be able to attract more than 500 consultants to join. This particular claim above is made on a few pages we saw including the main page and their About Us section.
It is followed in each instance by a bullet point list of what makes their advisors better than others out there. It states each of their associates is qualified to give advice, attends regular seminars, carries appropriate insurance cover, has been vetted by the CRB background check, and is a member of The Institute of Professional Will Writers. Unfortunately we're still unclear on the various qualifications than can be obtained. Hopefully we'll get an article about it out soon and we'll insert a link here to help.
So does this carry over in to satisfied clients? In all honesty this is a far more difficult area to check up on when you're dealing with a large organisation of pretty much indepedent advisors. For example, the APS Legal & Associates main website does have the usual testimonials page.
"A very personal, prompt and professional service."
"Unfailingly courteous and patient. No hard-sell, very professional."
However, each of these testimonials is often not tagged regarding which advisor they are talking about. Unlike a single fixed firm with maybe a dozen employees, it's much harder to use testimonials or independent reviews when judging the merits of a nationwide collective of consultants. Of course, the positive reviews continue across the third party review sites such as Google, Yelp, Yellow Pages and TrustPilot:
"I was very impressed with how Nicolae handled the whole process"
"We feel we were offered what we needed rather than what we wanted."
But the comments in the public domain state the advisors name far more often. This is both more helpful in pinpointing where the praise is due, but also unhelpful in pointing out the review isn't of the company as a whole. However, putting everything we've written so far together - it may now be more apparent why we decided APS would be a good firm to both write about and include in the list of recommended firms on our network.
The main website is www.aps-legal.com and www.aps-legal.co.uk will redirect you there. At the moment both www.apslegal.com and www.apslegal.co.uk don't seem to be owned by the firm. Plus many of the consultants have their own websites promoting their services. They should have the APS Legal logo on their website though and you can always check with the main office as to whether the consultant using that website is actually a qualified advisor on their books.
The firms other arm, Assured Probate Services, has an individual website at www.assured-aic.co.uk, again none of the other variants such as www.assured-aic.com currently redirect or have a separate site. We did see something being built at www.assuredprobateservices.co.uk too so just be careful when browsing to make sure you're on an official site and contacting a genuine APS Legal or Assured Probate representative.
The majority of scams tend to be with matters such as property where large deposits can be redirected. As far as we're aware their aren't a lot of scams going where people try to get you to write a will leaving everything to a nigerian prince. But still pay attention to the links you click and remember that email addresses can be faked quite easily. We could email you from an @amazon.co.uk address right now saying your payments have failed. It's, sadly, ridiculously easy.
General Notes: Usually if Legal Aid is possible we've mentioned it above, but you can always ask. We haven't looked in depth at their recruitment program so are unaware of any job vacancies available. For a career with APS Legal & Associates it's best to visit the website (www.aps-legal.com), check opening hours, and find the correct phone/email contact details. Simply emailing a CV to reception looks lazy. Each law firm's Law Society and/or SRA number should be on their site, usually at the bottom of each page.
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