You may have read recently that Saga, the specialist in providing holidays and other services for the over 55s, is entering the probate market.
You can understand why it is doing this. Its core clientele are of that age group where parents would be very elderly so it looks a fertile prospect for Saga. They are not doing the work themselves but are outsourcing it to an outfit called Parabis which apparently has its headquarters in Croydon. We hope that they can avoid the problems which have arisen with the Co-op Probate Service. These appear to have been the result of over enthusiastic selling: resources are not available to handle adequately the numerous cases. It is our understanding also that all work is carried out from a central office so that clients do not get the benefit of local contacts and the reassurance of dealing with one person.
It certainly seems to be the trend for more and more legal services to be provided by large organisations and the recent introduction of alternative business structures (ABS) has accelerated the process.
We can understand why clients go for the security of a well-known brand. Our plan is to raise the visibility of the Probaters’ “brand” with a view to ensuring that those who come to us obtain an assured quality service based on traditional solicitor values. We always try to ensure that we have the resources to meet the cases we take on. There is no separate marketing department so if we cannot be sure that a case will be adequately dealt with we will decline the instructions but try to ensure that the prospective client’s case is dealt with adequately elsewhere.