The Planning Crowd

Highlighting best practice as a representative in The Parliamentary Review

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from The Planning Crowd is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

www.theplanningcrowd.com

THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
16 | THE PLANNING CROWD
Andy Townsend, Managing
Director
The legal services market is ever-changing. Increased
competition linked with modern platforms for service delivery
mean that companies operating within the sector need to
be at the top of their game to attract clients and deliver services
that meet the general public’s demand by being accessible, cost-
effective and impeccably supplied. Although The Planning Crowd
is relatively new, it was founded on 30 years of private client and
estate planning experience, bringing knowledge not only from
the legal services industry but also, crucially, from marketing and
distribution. Managing Director Andy Townsend elaborates.
As we are focused on the essential delivery of key private client services our
intention is to ensure that people from all walks of life have access to these
important services and, perhaps more crucially, understand the importance of
estate planning and the consequences of not having adequate provisions in place.
Educating people
In 2017, it was reported that the number of people dying without a valid will
in place in the UK was at an all-time high. Karen Barrett, CEO and founder of
Unbiased said, “It looks as if people still aren’t getting the message. The huge
benefits of having a will, and the even bigger risks of not having one, should be far
more widely known and talked about.”
A startling survey showed that 31 million people are currently at risk of dying
without a will in place, which would leave their estate to be distributed in
accordance with the law of intestacy. These outdated rules have been largely in
place since 1925, and fail to take into account blended family situations, or an
increasing number of cohabitees who choose not to marry. Instead, they leave a
bereaved partner no other choice but to bring a legal claim against the deceased
estate, often against the deceased’s children, their own step-children in many
cases. While dying intestate is occasionally just an inconvenience it can lead to
bitter disputes which have the potential to change the entire family dynamic and
irreparably damage relationships.
Addressing these risks
So, what has been done in recent years to rectify this situation?
In 2015, the Ministry of Justice launched a public campaign in an attempt to alter
the statistics and increase public awareness of the consequences of intestacy.
Despite their efforts, figures are actually worse now than they were in 2011. Even
if this campaign did have an effect on public awareness, the figures now show that
there has been a negative impact on the actual number of people taking action.
The natural conclusion is that traditional methods of marketing and delivering these
AT A GLANCE
THE PLANNING CROWD
»Managing Director:
AndyTownsend
»Established in 2016
»Based in Lincoln and Cardiff
»Services: Estate planning
»No. of employees: 60
The Planning Crowd
17THE PLANNING CROWD |
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2019
crucial services have not been effective.
We at The Planning Crowd intend
to change this through a variety of
different methods.
By using modern platforms to engage
with the public, we hope to manage to
do something previously not achieved
by traditional working methods. We
want to ensure the public is fully
advised of the consequences of not
carrying out essential estate planning,
and also ensure that the services
we provide are both cost-effective
and affordable for greater numbers
of people. Our regular appearances
on Ideal World Television provide
audiences with informative advice and
offer affordable services without any
compromise on the quality of service
they receive. As we have built our
business around a scalable model,
we are easily able to provide quality
legal services to a larger number of
individuals without inflated overheads.
Recruitment and legislation
Our growth has not been without its
own difficulties, however. Recruitment
of staff has proven a serious challenge
at our main office in Lincoln, and we
have now opened a second office in
Cardiff. The staff there will be tasked
with appointment booking for new
clients, along with contacting our
100,000 existing clients on a regular
basis. Their role, in the latter case, will
largely be discerning if, when and how
clients want to make amendments to
their documents, or where a change in
legislation makes it necessary to review
the provisions they have already put in
place.
Unlike many firms, we are not fazed
by the introduction of new legislation.
Yes, the introduction of the residential
nil rate band meant that continuing
professional development for our staff
was focused on this topic for a while
before its introduction, but our staff
training is naturally continuous so the
impact was minimal. GDPR meant a
review of our policies, a data audit and
more staff training; however, this is all
something that would nonetheless take
place over the course of any given year.
Planning in advance is certainly key
to coping with changes, and change
should be embraced – after all, it often
brings new opportunities along with it.
A year for simplification
We are looking forward to seeing what
the next year brings within the industry.
We eagerly await the recommendations
from the Law Commission following
their public consultation on wills, and
whether or not they will have an impact
on the perception, or the process, of
establishing a will. We are also keen
to see if the Inheritance Tax Review by
the Office of Tax Simplification that
is currently in progress will alter the
existing, albeit somewhat complicated,
inheritance tax system.
More importantly, we look forward
to further growth for our company,
celebrating achievements with our
staff and continuing to attract, assist
and retain estate planning clients.
We will continue to strive towards
the objective of doing ordinary things
extraordinarily well.
Andy with fellow
directors Helen HIll and
Ian Peace
Our head office is
in Lincoln, but our
clients are located
throughout the UK
While dying
intestate is
occasionally
just an
inconvenience
it can lead to
bitter disputes

www.theplanningcrowd.com

This article was sponsored by The Planning Crowd. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it.