From the Desk of the DG: Help us help yourself

15th August 2019Brian McMillan0

A guide to getting help and technical advice

This is a subject that has been written about in past newsletters and articles, the last one being 11 January 2019, but it is a topic that needs to be addressed regularly, in a climate of more complex families and their estates estate planning is essential.

Let’s get a couple of things out of the way first.

Technical help is available to ALL members of the Society but only a full Member can access it directly. Where a Member is an Affiliate (Aff.SWW) they must go through their parent company, and if they do not have the answer or want clarification then it is for the registered full member responsible for the consultants within the organisation to email the Society’s technical help line. Neither the company nor the Society want to get into a situation whereby conflicting advice has been given.

The technical help service is a free service, but from time to time, it may be that the question posed needs more specialist advice such as complex tax planning, which may incur a cost on the Society and this cost the Society holds the right to pass either all or part of the cost incurred on to the member.

We do insist, and I am firm on this, that ALL enquiries of a technical nature must, in the first instance, be sent via email, this is to protect you, the Society and ultimately the client. It is only in extreme cases such as a death bed Will, will we deal with an enquiry by telephone without having it in writing first, the only other exception is the afternoon Sure Will Writer clinic, as we understand you have to draft the documents.

We do not want to make this unique service chargeable to members unlike so many other organisations, we want to encourage members to value the service and use it in cases of doubt, a lack of knowledge is nothing to be ashamed of, we all have blank periods, and as I opened this article, life is becoming more complicated so no one person can be expected to know everything. The Society spends tens of thousands of pounds annually on providing the service, it’s not just the professionals we employ, but it is also maintaining an up to date library that is required and that alone costs thousands of pounds each year.

So, the title of today’s missive is “Help us help yourself”.

It’s quite simple, and I don’t think we are asking too much, but when you send in your enquiry, give us all the information you have. We are not asking for names, but information on the estate and the full story as to the clients wants and needs. It sometimes takes 5 or 6 emails to drag out the information when it probably could have been done from the first email, giving you a quicker service, and saving us a great deal of time.

More and more members are using the service which is great, but we cannot afford any further advisers unless we do make the service chargeable, the sensible alternative is help us to help yourself, we don’t judge regardless of how simple the question, but the more information we have the better advice we can give and quicker, allowing us also to spend more time and more money where it can also do good for the membership.

Brian McMillan

Director General of The Society of Will Writers, leading the way in the Will Writing profession since 1994.

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About The Society of Will Writers

The Society of Will Writers is a non-profit making self-regulatory organisation whose primary objectives are the advancement, education and ethical standards within the will writing profession.

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