Confessions of a Will Writer: Training
By Graham Southorn
29th Mar '19
The first month of my franchise ownership was busy with logistical tasks like equipping my home office and setting up a business bank account. But probably the most significant thing that happened was taking a training course.
One of the things that attracted me to a Maplebrook Wills will-writing franchise was the fact that training was provided. Over the past year, I’d toyed with the idea of going back to college or university to learn a new profession. I’d thought of going into blockchain – but ultimately decided against it.
Going back to university would have meant, in all likelihood, that I’d have to uproot my family to a different part of the country. I’d then have to go a year or so without earning money, on top of the tuition fees. And when I’d finished I’d be competing with all the other new graduates for jobs.
Basic training is part of the Maplebrook Wills franchise package. Together with other new franchisees, I spent two full days with Alan Edwards, who’s been writing wills since the 1990s! Alan provided expert insight into all aspects of wills, from the structure of a will to how they should be signed and witnessed.
While wills aren’t written from scratch – because they’re built up from standard clauses – it’s still essential to know how they’re constructed. You may need to add an unusual clause. For example, and you need to confident that a will you write will pass a compliance check.
Alan also covered the rules of intestacy. This is what happens when someone dies without a will. He also covered different kinds of trusts. The following day, will writer and in-house Maplebrook Wills trainer Eunice Learmont concluded the theory sessions with an in-depth look at lasting powers of attorney (LPAs).
Along with this training on the theory side of wills and estate planning, Mike Pugh spent some time talking through Maplebrook Wills’ computer systems and how to use them.
It was a lot to take in and I struggled to retain all the information. But this was only to be expected. Any new information will eventually sink in with regular reading and, naturally, learning on the job. Given the sheer volume of material to get through, it’s likely that more days will be added to the training sessions for new franchisees.
Since these training sessions, I’ve attended further seminars on trusts with Dr Paul Hutchinson to learn more detail on how trusts work. I’ve also been out on client visits with Mike Pugh, seeing how the theory gets put into practice. Every case has been different, with different variables such as size of the estate, exclusions from the will and beneficiaries.
I don’t see this as the end of my will writing training – far from it. There’ll always be new things to learn and I’m looking forward to learning them.