Bereavement is a Difficult Time: Face-to-Face or Faceless?

Categories Blog, Estate Administration, Executors, Grant of Probate, Inheritance Tax

Whilst technological advancement means we are able to choose how we interact with individuals and companies - telephone, email, Skype, etc., there is perhaps no better alternative than to do so on a face-to-face basis, in person.

However, some may consider a face to face meeting to be insensitive during difficult times.  Or, some may consider this to be an opportunity to “hard sell” on the spot.  Many do not understand the concept of “Know Your Customer”.

When dealing with the recently bereaved, it is essential to seek to strike the right note every time – and let’s remember that we are all different in what we see and hear from our unique perspective.  As is the case in many industries and sectors where face-to-face is modus operandi, when dealing with bereaved families at a vulnerable time the case for face-to-face is compelling.  Here’s why…

If you were taking advice from a doctor or a dentist, you would obviously want to do so in person, to be properly examined, understand your options and to get to look them in the eye!  They will undoubtedly ask you questions during their diagnosis which appear unrelated and yet you would not consider this intrusive.  Remember they are bound by the Hippocratic Oath.

If you were seeking the advice of a Financial Adviser, they too would take a similar approach and are only allowed to operate in accordance with the rules set down by their Regulatory Body; the Financial Services Authority (FSA).  Part of the ethos of the FSA is to Know Your Customer.  This involves fully understanding not only the “hard” facts (what you have) but also the “soft” facts (the whys and hows, aspirations, objectives, or goals you may have); the latter may again seem unrelated but can have an impact on any financial planning or advice given.

So, is it really invasive to meet at a place that suits you (your home or office for example) at a time that suits you (weekdays, evenings or weekends) and to discuss with a professional the situation in detail?

Probate and estate administration are (hopefully) something you will probably only experience once or twice in life and most will want to appoint a professional to help. 

Kings Court Trust is currently authorised to conduct probate business under the Trustee Act of 1925.  From October 2011, a new regulatory regime came into force under the Legal Services Act 2007.  So, as our industry becomes more regulated, thereby delivering more protection for the consumer, we wish even more to provide you with the quality of service you would expect.

So how does Kings Court Trust operate?

We don’t waste your time.  We will only meet with you once we have established together that there is a need to do so. That is, the situation requires discussion and is perhaps more complex, requiring more than our “Probate Assist” range of services (these being our “probate DIY services”).

There is no charge for the face-to-face meeting and there is no obligation (or pressure) to take the advice or recommendation of our Probate Consultants.

What can you expect at a meeting?

  • An introduction to how we work.
  • A comprehensive fact-finding discussion similar to that conducted by a Financial Adviser.  Not only is it important to ascertain the details and make-up of an estate, but also, where a Will exists, there is a need to check its validity, interpret its contents and understand fully who and what the roles are of those named within it, along with their responsibilities,  and any circumstances that might affect its execution.  The opposite of this is where a Will doesn’t exist and where this is the case, there is need to understand how the estate will be dealt with and specifically the route to determining who is entitled to benefit under the rules of intestacy.
  • A thorough explanation of the process and options available to you in dealing with the administration of an estate.
  • A written, fully inclusive, fixed price for all the work that is needed.
  • The option to proceed and for our Probate Consultant to take away all paperwork necessary to commence the work, thereby lifting one burden from your shoulders.
  • All of this in usually no more than 90 minutes.
  • We believe that from a service perspective, face-to-face engagement is crucial to building a strong and trusted relationship with us, one which may last many months.  A face-to-face meeting allows us to give you the correct advice and leaves you in an informed position to decide how you wish to proceed.

Patrick Mousley is National Sales Manager at Kings Court Trust and can be reached on 01225 750 273 or