Ways to improve your storage offering (and build value in your business)

Written by WillSuite on 21st March 2022

Will or document storage could be considered an under utilised part of the ‘product/service portfolio’. Many people don’t give too much weight or effort to introducing storage to clients on the basis that it often seems like an upsell or that the value is minuscule in comparison to the estate planning that you’ve just done.

What we all already know:

If we flip the storage proposition on its head, there are a few examples that we can consider to help us decide what approach we should take when it comes to offering Will and document storage.

Firstly, ‘the common/typical high street solicitor’ tends to offer free Will storage and may even pay for the registration of that Will with Certainty - The National Will Register so that the executors have to come back to them after the death of the testator. Some will also offer free storage where they are listed as a professional executor in their clients Wills. Both are a great way to protect future estate administration business.

Your typical estate planner will charge for storage. This charge is anywhere from £25 to £45 per year. It’s a residual income which can be used to assess the value of your business. 

Some choose to offer nothing at all in which case clients are responsible for the storage of their own documents.

Improving your storage solution:

Now we know the sorts of solutions that different firms offer, we can assess ways to improve your storage offering. Initially you’ll want to consider how much effort you would like to go to, what the cost considerations are and what your longer term objectives are. Here are some of the options?

Options for storage:

  • Fireproof Safe (Storing in-house)

Some practitioners keep documents in-house and opt for secure filing cabinets or a fireproof safe. It ensures a direct relationship between your firm and the clients/executors and ensures they come back to you for updates or to retrieve documents.

  • Registering the location of Wills

Whether you store documents or not, you could offer a registration service where you register the location of the clients' Wills with Certainty - The National Will Register. Certainty may charge for this service. 

  • HM Courts & Tribunals Service

You can store your client’s Will with the Probate Registry at a cost of £20. For more information click here

  • National Will Archive

This storage service is available through the Society of Will Writers and is a business to business service for practitioners to store their client’s documents.

  • National Will Safe

The National Will Safe is another solution available to professionals.

Adding Value to your solution:

Providing unique reference numbers

It’s obvious that you need to make it as easy as possible for documents to be retrieved but also if you sold your Will bank, a purchaser would need to be able reference files under storage.

Writing to executors to explain their responsibilities

This is becoming increasingly more popular as a lead generation tool but also gives you an opportunity to provide support to the loved ones of your clients when they are appointed as executors within your client’s Will. Within WillSuite, you can pre-populate letters addressed to the executors using the letter templates tool.

Providing certificates of safe storage

If the clients are going to be paying for a service it’s nice to give them something tangible to support the service. Providing certificates and a copy of their Will is a great way to compliment the physical storage of the Wills.

How can software help?

Software is a magical elixir that can help with anything. On a serious note, our software can help by adding value to your business and storage solution with the following:

Connect - We have a client facing portal brought to you by Love Legal which enables you to request information from clients. From a storage perspective, you’re able to send clients a copy of their Will which they can download.

CRM fields - As WillSuite is a full case management solution you are able to record any data that it’s important to you. This can include but is not limited to storage reference numbers, storage location, and even a date and email address that the executor instructions were sent.

Digital Storage - an online vault

As we are living in a digital age, more and more of us will be leaving digital assets and passing this information (or digital legacy) onto loved ones poses a couple of problems. WillSuite have partnered with Keylu who provide this exact service. This means that WillSuite users are able to offer Keylu vaults to clients and can automatically transfer documents to the client account from WillSuite. This is proving popular for enhancing a firm’s storage offering. For more information on the Keylu integration, click here: https://willsuite.co.uk/blog/willsuite-announces-new-integration-with-keylu

Practical Considerations

Business Continuity

As a leading software provider for private client practitioners we have unfortunately come across a number of cases where practitioners have died and where no provision for their business continuity exists. This is ironic given our profession but none-the-less sad. As a practical consideration you should give consideration to what should happen to your business and the continuity for things like storage in the event of your passing.

The Society of Will Writers offers its members a Public Indemnity Fund. Essentially, every member pays a one-off fee into the fund upon becoming a member and this funds any work needed where clients pass away.