Our IFAs meet their obligations to the FCA
what we do
Independent Financial Advisors
As IFAs, you have a duty of care to protect your clients from financial catastrophe and also need to protect yourselves from potential litigation.
The FCA require that the fact-finding process includes information about Will planning and the importance of ensuring that an up to date Will is in place. We live in a litigious world and IFAs need to ensure that they are not criticised if a client dies without a valid Will in place.
The good news is that not only can IFAs meet their obligations to the FCA rules by ensuring that their clients understand the importance of Estate Planning but they can also generate a lucrative income stream by doing so.
Goodwills Legal Services has worked with IFAs nationally for many years. More than 300 IFA practices have used our services. Our bespoke approach to supporting IFAs has ensured that they receive the service that they and their clients want. Please read about our service and contact us if you believe that Goodwills Legal Services can help in any way.
Here you can learn more about each service we provide, and select which one fits you. After you selected the service, feel free to contact us for further details.
We offer two types of Estate Planning service to IFAs:
- We can draft the Wills, Trusts, Lasting Powers of Attorney and other products based on instructions received from the IFA, who we give full training, ongoing support and access to our comprehensive but easy to understand service manual; or
- We can appoint one of our trained consultants to work with the IFA, Financial Adviser or Broker practice and advise clients accordingly.
Where IFAs take instructions, they will need to have attended one of our training courses which we hold throughout England, Wales and Northern Ireland. We also hold regular, free training sessions for all of our IFAs at our Head Office, which are always well attended and there has been plenty of positive feedback.
The initial course is one day in length and followed up with several screenshare Zoom meetings to familiarise you with our systems, and to build on the initial knowledge gained. We then have a follow-up seminar two months after the original training session, when hopefully you will have begun to see your first clients and have begun to accrue a range of queries that we’re more than happy to assist you with.
The courses cover all aspects of estate planning through testamentary instruction and also develops a profound understanding of how to use Wills to increase Financial Services sales. We also make sure that we give one-on-one advice on a case-by-case basis, which ensures that clients receive the very best service, whilst also adding to your own knowledge and experience.
We charge competitive legal fees for our work and expect you to charge appropriately for your own time/advice, which makes providing Estate Planning advice not only a service that is in your clients’ very best interests but also a very lucrative one for you.
Where IFAs prefer to refer clients to us, we assign a dedicated Goodwills Legal Services consultant to work with the practice. Where this model is utilised, we will pay a referral fee from the work undertaken back out to you directly. Of course, any information which could lead to financial services sales will be passed back to the IFA practice by the consultant.
State of the Art Software
We provide all of our business partners with access to our state-of-the-art software, which allows client instructions to be taken accurately, efficiently and effectively. The software covers everything from basic Wills to complex Trusts, and includes the ability to prepare Lasting Powers of Attorney, Advance Decisions and a wide range of ancillary Estate Planning services.
Full Initial and Ongoing Training
We provide initial training over two days at our Head Office in Bedford. This is followed up by several webinars that cover niche topics and provide more of a grounding on how to use our software. We then offer a follow-up day around two months after the initial training.
A large portion of our training goes into providing you with the knowledge you need in order to run and market the business. Ultimately, you will be running your own business and we want to ensure that all of the branding, advertising and marketing that you do is effective and profit-driven.
We also hold quarterly Estate Planning Practitioner meetings at our Head Office in Bedford, where legal changes and important updates are discussed and disseminated. This is also a good time to catch up with your colleagues and to find out what latest hot marketing tactic has been working for them!
Estate Planning isn’t easy and we give you the full support that you need in order to deal with any client situation, no matter how complex. We’ve dealt with Estates valued at over £120,000,000 and you can trust us to provide the information you need for any particular client situation.
Everything is covered by our PII and, ultimately, we take liability if anything goes wrong. We therefore have a duty to ensure that any advice you’re giving clients is correct, up to date and relevant to their circumstances.
We’re only ever a phone call or email away, and always happy to provide you with the advice and support you need!
We provide you with a range of marketing materials, including a wide range of brochures, leaflets and a stand to use when you’re based at a physical location.
Above and beyond this, we give you free ongoing access to our designer, at no cost to you, who will prepare your logo, business cards, general marketing materials and bespoke advertisements for your business.
Website and Social Media Marketing
Your website is one of the most crucial parts of your business in today’s competitive marketplace, and, if you wish us to do so, we can provide you with a bespoke one from the outset for a competitive fee.
Once built, we are able to give you information and support to help build your website’s SEO ranking to get to, and then stay at, the top of your game in terms of Google, Bing and other search ranking.
We’re also able to provide you with support on Google Adwords and Social Media Content/Marketing. Both of these platforms are vital for finding your future clients.
Direct Leads and Marketing Support
We provide leads generated from our main website, and our over 50,000 previous clients and their referrals, which we pass out to you at no charge to you.
We also run regular marketing promotions, such as contributing 40% of your marketing costs for local campaigns and many similar such things. Combined with our ability to provide you with attractive, informative and bespoke designed marketing materials, we are able to quickly support you in the direction of ongoing success.
Estate Planning Cartoons
We provide you with a set of informative Estate Planning Cartoons for your use on your website, social media and elsewhere. These are professionally animated and voiced over, and we have found them to be incredibly effective marketing tools.
A Unique Trading Style
If you wish to do so, uou will be able to trade as Goodwills in your local area and we will be able to provide you with all of the materials necessary to do so. Although you will run an independent business, your link to the main Goodwills brand will help you to generate new work and client enquiries. Alternatively, many IFAs only refer work from their existing client banks; our business model allows for both. Many of the IFAs that we’ve worked with for several years have chosen to run an Estate Planning business alongside their IFA practice, and to cross-refer work.
Professional Indemnity Insurance Cover
Estate Planning is an increasingly litigious area of law and, due to our business structure, you are able to act safely in the knowledge that you are covered by our PI insurance. We know that there are cowboy Will writers out there but, as a regulated law firm, we are trying to move the industry as a whole in the right direction. You and your clients will have the knowledge that all documents are being written up by a regulated firm, whose Directors are Solicitors.
IFAs tell us that 70% of their clients do not have Wills and, of those that have, most do not include tax planning or Trust clauses in their Wills. For many people, a visit to the Solicitor’s office to make a Will is both an inconvenient and traumatic experience. As an IFA, you are well placed to take your client’s Will and Estate Planning instructions. You are aware of your client’s financial situation, his aims and aspirations, and therefore, with the proper support from Goodwills, better placed than an anonymous local Solicitor would be to provide advice for your clients.
You also, and most importantly, enjoy the trust of your client. If you don’t arrange your clients’ Wills or Lasting Powers of Attorney, someone else might and they will then also have the opportunity to get the extra financial sales that are often generated during an Estate Planning review of a client’s circumstances.
As a regulated law firm, we also provide a Probate service, where we pay a 25% referral of our fee to you directly. During Probate, as one would imagine, beneficiaries who oftentimes have not had considerable wealth previously, may receive significant financial benefits. We ensure that these types of clients leads are passed back to the advisers we work with.
Similarly, in the case of Trusts, we are not FCA regulated and so where we act as Professional Executors and Trustees, not only do we pay you 25% of our fee but we also ensure that any Trust investments are passed back to you to deal with.
Even in the case of Lasting Powers of Attorney, where we have been appointed as Professional Attorneys, we are able to include a clause that ensures that should one of your clients lose mental capacity, management of their investments can be passed back to you to be dealt with by way of a Discretionary Investment Management scheme or otherwise.
As professionals, we have a duty to ensure that Trust and Client monies are invested properly and so we always ensure that such work is passed back to the advisers who pass the work to us.
Goodwills Legal Services have designed an effective and easy method for IFAs to take Will instructions from their clients. Our simple to use instruction form can accommodate clients with simple estates to those with substantial assets and significant Inheritance Tax liabilities. The form can be used to arrange simple wills or for complex trusts to preserve the estate for future beneficiaries. We have prepared Wills for clients with Estates worth up to £120,000,000 and have the resources and knowledge to provide proper advice to clients in all financial situations.
We also offer our IFAs with the ability to take instructions electronically through an online form. This can be completed with clients on a PC/laptop or even on a tablet taken to their own homes. Instructions are all provided to the Head Office in real time and, for all but the most complex Wills, we are able to turn these around and send drafts out to the clients within one week of instructions being received.
We have recently invested heavily in our electronic portal and we are now able to provide Wills, Advance Decisions, LPAs and Trusts all through this portal. This results in significant benefits to the clients but also ensures that you can take instructions accurately, efficiently and effectively. We have had ongoing demand for improvement to our systems and we have responded by implementing a full system for the taking of electronic instructions. We still ensure that all documents are correctly drafted, and proper advice is given, covered by our Professional Indemnity Insurance.
We provide full training, which means that you will also be able to help clients with a range of more complex Estate Planning needs, whether that be protecting their homes from third party creditors, protecting children against remarriage of a surviving spouse, ensuring that a Trust is in place in case clients pass away leaving bereaved minors or even protecting a client’s business should they lose mental capacity.
We exercise no control over fees charged by IFAs although we do have a recommended fee menu. The average fee taken by IFAs for 2 Wills including an Asset Preservation Trust is around £1,200; a significant part of the fee is retained by the IFA.
The market rate for one of our flagship Home Protection Trusts is £3,000 and our IFAs take around £2,000 of that fee whenever one is prepared. These are known to be a more risky service but we take a low-risk approach and, with our training, and protected by our PII, you can rest assured that these types of Trusts are only offered where they are appropriate to the client’s circumstances.
Where our consultants complete the instruction, we pay IFA practices an introduction fee of 20% of our fee.
Even where complex Trusts are not required, the rewards are still significant and can increase client value to the practice significantly. This is particularly the case where we are appointed as Professional Executors and later act in the Probate, as in these circumstances we pay you a 25% referral fee for our work. Even where we are not appointed as Professionals, if we do later act in the work, we’ll still pay you the same referral fee.
You can find out more about our services by browsing our website but a quick breakdown is as follows:
Wills and Will Trusts
Everyone needs a Will; indeed, everyone has a Will. They can write their own Will or the state will write one for them (intestacy). Having a Will, however, is more than just leaving everything to those you love:
- A Will can ensure that a property is protected from third party creditors, including from care home fees.
- A Will can ensure that children are not disinherited by the remarriage of a spouse (sideways disinheritance).
- A Will can safeguard an inheritance for a disabled child against being used to pay for primary care so that it could be used for additional/private care.
- A Will can ensure that a ‘prodigal child’ can only inherit when they have ‘regained their social responsibility’.
- A Will can speed up the transfer of assets which otherwise could be in limbo for years.
- A Will can ensure that an unmarried father is granted custody of his natural children.
- A Will can ensure that a client’s choice of guardians will take care of their children rather than those appointed by the court.
- A Will can ensure that where bereaved children are left after death, that they are properly looked after and cared for. This also allows monies to be held and protected by Trustees, rather than potentially having control snatched by the guardian, who is generally the surviving ex-spouse or partner.
- A Will can ensure that a business is maintained for beneficiaries rather than it being closed due to probate delays.
- A Will can ensure that a more robust defence is provided should an excluded individual make a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.
- A Will can protect a Disabled Person’s assets from local authority, government and other charges, which can make a huge difference to the quality of that person’s life.
More information on Wills and Will Trusts can be found here: XXXXX
Home Protection Trusts
These are a lifetime transfer that protects a client’s property from a wide range of risks, including care home fees and other third party creditor costs. They also act to protect a client’s end beneficiaries (usually the children) from things like bankruptcy, debt, divorce and a wide range of other risks. They can even be used to mitigate tax for grandchildren, which for some clients can result in ultimate savings of up to £260,000.
More information on Home Protection Trusts can be found here: XXXXXX
Lasting Powers of Attorney and Advance Decisions
Lasting Powers of Attorney are vitally important documents that allow clients to appoint Attorneys to deal with their affairs should they lose mental capacity, whether due to dementia/Alzheimer’s, or suddenly due to, for instance, a stroke or accident.
LPAs can cover both Property and Financial Affairs, and Health and Welfare decisions, such as life sustaining treatment decisions and care decisions.
An Advance Decision is another important document that lets a client decide in advance what should happen to them if they are in a vegetative or similar state.
More information on Lasting Powers of Attorney and Advance Decisions can be found here: XXXXXX
Probate and Professional Executorship/Trusteeship
The Financial Advisers we work with often deal with clients with large, taxable Estates. In these cases, not only can we mitigate tax and provide suitable protection by way of Trusts, but we are also able to deal with the Executorship aspect and ensuring that tax is properly paid and Trusts properly set up on a client’s death.
We can either be appointed as Professional Executors by the clients in their Wills or, alternatively, the Executors’ of the Estate can appoint us directly to carry out Probate services on their behalves. We charge competitive fees for our service and always act in a compassionate manner and, as we are a regulated law firm, we are nonetheless able to pay you a generous 25% referral fee for Probate work undertaken. When we act as Professional Executors, we want to make sure that beneficiaries have the advice necessary to manage their inheritances, and to ensure wealth is not squandered, which is of course another opportunity for us to pass work back to you.
Where we act as Trustees, we need to ensure that monies are properly invested and, as we are not FCA regulated, we always pass this work back to the Financial Advisers we work with. This then becomes a good source of continuing financial advice work for you over the years.
More information on Probate and Professional Executorship/Trusteeship can be found here: XXXXXX
In addition to Wills, we provide Lasting Powers of Attorney, Advanced Medical Decisions, Business Wills, Many types of Testamentary Trusts, Partnership Agreements, Buy/Sell Option Agreements, Estate Planning and Probate.
In particular, probate and Professional Executorship services can provide a good stream of passive income to our IFAs (we pay a % to our IFAs where we are named as Professional Executors and later act) and probate services in general can be highly profitable.
Can I be certain that my clients will remain mine?
Our contractual agreement with you confirms that we will never cross sell to your clients. We will only deal directly with your client with your express permission. All financial work that arises as a result of our work, whether Estate Planning, Trust or Probate work is passed back to you as the financial adviser. Not only will your client remain yours but you are likely to find that an increased amount of work comes not only from them but, after their death, from their beneficiaries who have just inherited.
When and where is the next training course?
Goodwills Legal Services are running courses on a regular basis at various venues throughout the country; contact us to find the most convenient course for you.
We run a training course at our Head Office in Bedford on the last Friday of every month from 10.00am – 4.00pm and, if this is of interest to you, just get in touch.
We are able to provide a range of information by email and over the phone in advance, so that you’re able to decide if the proposition is right for you.
Who pays for my Professional Indemnity insurance?
All Wills, Trusts and Lasting Powers of Attorney written by Goodwills Legal Services are covered under our PII policy and you have no cost or liability for any instruction that you take.
All of our Executorship and Trusteeship works is likewise covered and so, from a PII perspective, you do not need to worry at all.
What ongoing support will I receive?
Once you have attended our training course, you will be given access to Goodwills Legal Services IFA Members’ Website. This allows you to access all of our marketing material and technical information. You will have access to PowerPoint presentations for Asset Preservation Trusts, Home Protection Trusts and all other types of trusts. You will have access to letter templates to referrals such as Executors and Guardians and, of course, you can always call us or send us an email for detailed technical advice.
How do I know that Goodwills Legal Services is a professional organisation?
We are regulated by the Council of Licensed Conveyancers and abide by the CLC Code of Conduct. Furthermore, we are members of the Society of Willwriters and also abide by the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners Code of Conduct, which can be found here: Step Code