IWC Probate & Will Services Info
IWC Estate Planning & Management Ltd - Probate & Will Services in Croydon, Bristol & Braintree: Review
Adding IWC Estate Planning & Management Ltd to our list of recommended firms was really a no-brainer moment for us. So whilst we always try to write comprehensive and balanced articles about each of the firms we cover - this one may sound considerably more "pro" than usual. That doesn't mean it won't be helpful (at least we hope it will). For a start, they are the only legal service provider that we've ever seen offering a Price Match Promise:
They also genuinely do cover the full gamut of 'Estate Planning' - a term fast becoming misused as a generic label for even the smallest individual parts of the entire process. From regular wills and probate, to funeral plans, genealogy searches, power of attorney, contesting a will, and more. They were voted the number one legal probate provider on the FreeIndex business review website and are regulated by the Society of Will Writers & Estate Planning Practitioners plus the Heir Hunters Association.
Unlike many law firms which like to claim 100+ year histories, IWC say they started in the year 2000. If you've done your homework a little more than the regular consumer, you'll have seen all the business info sites state they started in 2002. Of course, that's just when they registered as a "Ltd" company in Braintree. But we've written in several articles before about how meaningless the age of a firm's branding is anyway. A 150 year old law firm might assign you a 1-year qualified solicitors to run your case. 2002 is a decent enough time for any firm to build up expertise, local contacts, and refine a system to be faster, more efficient and more importantly - cost effective. The reviews back this up:
• "It took even less time than expected"
• "able to answer all questions and adapt to changing circumstances on a particularly tricky matter"
• "I really don't know how I would have coped without them"
• "The company was caring and empathetic every step of the way, whilst acting efficiently and professionally"
Those are just a few snippets from reviews posted on independent sites such as TrustPilot, FreeIndex and even NetMums. (That's actually the first time we've seen a law firm mentioned on NetMums.) There are hundreds of reviews about IWC Probate and Will Services which is also rather unusual. You may have already noticed that not many people bother writing reviews about law firms. If you read our last article, it was about a firm with a history back to 1979 yet had a grand total of three reviews across the entire web.
Why is that important? The reason they have so many reviews is probably because they link to review groups from their own website and ask people to view/post reviews on their services. That's a big deal. Many firms hate review sites and we've covered a couple of firms where a chunk of the 5 star reviews were clearly
So a firm actually encouraging people to visit review sites that could change at any second, is bold. You have to be pretty confident in your customer service to do such a thing when it comes to legal matters.
Thankfully whilst this is a good thing to see - it's not a unique offer. Most law firms are moving away from the charge-by-the-hour setup and giving clients a quote up front. This is great for the consumer and will help a lot when you're trying to compare one firm with another. However, we have seen comparison sites starting to pop up for legal services and don't recommend using those. We'll be expanding on 'why' in a later article.
Hugely important. There are plenty of companies for Will & Probate Services, Personal Injury, Conveyancing and other case types which don't even have a single solicitor on staff. They are simply 'case management companies'. These are people with no legal qualifications that discuss your case in depth with you and take all the details. They then take that case to a third party solicitor to deal with whilst they act as a very-well-paid middleman. Or worse, they just sell your case to a completely different firm.
Another big plus and something that's not common at all, is IWC's blog section with real help and information articles. There are very specific pieces such as "The Chain of Representation" or "A Precatory Trust". But there's also plenty of wider topics that may be worth a quick read before actually picking up the phone to talk to anyone. Titles such as "Writing the Ideal Will", "Can you Refuse to be an Executor", or "What Happens if you Don't Apply for Probate". The blog section seems to be regularly updated as well.
Hopefully if you've continued reading this far you'll agree that us having a very 'pro' stance on IWC Wills and Probate isn't wholly unjustified. So, do we have any negative points to raise? Well, they could use a really good search function for the help articles rather than just the drop down category menu. And they could be a little more consistent about their branding, even just for the sake of navigation.
For example the current official website we link to is www.iwcprobateservices.co.uk but www.iwcprobateservices.com doesn't redirect you there and they have switched to this from www.iwc-ltd.co.uk (a domain name we still see popping up in the internal search function here). The old domain name doesn't redirect properly in our Chrome browser though, only in the Windows browser. Also whilst the official name seems to be IWC Estate Planning & Management Ltd, we see it compacted to IWC Probate & Will Services in some places with the further shortened IWC Probate Services in others. We also saw www.probatelondon.co.uk in the search results for the company name which seems to be just another catchment site for IWC. It's certainly very common for law firms to create different brands for promoting different case types or locations. But hopefully this will all settle down into one recognisable and constant name soon.
We didn't check mis-spellings or other hyphenated versions of all the web addresses, but considering how bad the Conveyancing industry has been hit with scammers - we would absolutely recommend bookmarking the correct site once you're on it and never discuss payments via email. Even if someone calls you to confirm bank details, don't feel embarrassed about hanging up and calling the company back on the phone number you've been officially given.
IWC are based in Croydon but have satellite offices in Leeds, Derby, Bristol, Newcastle, Hemel Hempstead, Nottingham and Braintree (Essex). Obviously these days many services can be provided without you ever having to visit the offices of the legal service provider you choose. Especially since COVID. If a firm you're interested in doesn't say they do home visits or out of hours appointments on their website (IWC do state such) then you can always ask. But for some reason the legal industry hasn't quite caught up with the rest of the fast-paced, always-on, always-available world.
The majority of legal professionals still adhere to the 9-5/Mon-Fri rule rigidly. So seeing IWC offer limited extra hours on a Saturday might not look like much compared to your local hairdresser, restaurant, or supermarket - but it is something quite impressive for a firm dealing with legal matters. Now if only the banking industry could start to be open a decent number of hours a week - society could be revolutionised ....
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 IWC Probate & Will Services it's best to visit the website (www.iwcprobateservices.co.uk), 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.
This IWC Probate & Will Services article is rated
4.5 / 5 based on 13 reviews. †
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