Meet the will writer: Chris Fooks
By Maplebrook Wills
8th Feb '19
How did you get into will writing?
When my father passed away, he left a really large estate to my mum. He had it so well organised that my mum now deservedly leads the life of Riley! My wife and I agreed that we should sort out our own wills – we had a business and four young children to think of. I met an adviser to discuss our options and in the course of the chat, she asked if I’d ever thought of going into estate planning. I’d previously worked in the City, helping high net worth clients, and I’d also seen how good estate planning had helped my father. So I went on a training course, got my qualifications and then I met Mike through a mutual friend.
What do you enjoy most about being a will writer?
It doesn’t feel like work! I drive up and down the country – I’ve got clients in Devon, Cornwall and Plymouth, from the Lizard up to Cumbria. I really enjoy visiting people and sitting with them and asking how I can help them. We’re only on this planet once, so I don’t like to pass up the chance to show kindness to another human being.
Why buy a Maplebrook Wills franchise?
Initially, I had my own brand set up. But I liked the sense of companionship with Mike and the other franchise holders – it gives you a sense of team and community. You know that if you’ve got a technical question, one of the best brains in the business – Dr Paul Hutchinson – is on the end of the phone. Without Mike’s input I would never even have heard of him. The professional development and technical support ticked a lot of boxes for having the franchise over staying solo. Also, Mike is someone I like and trust. There’s no smoke and mirrors – if he says he’s going to do something, he does it.
What difference does it make to your business?
Becoming part of a franchise and having Mike’s support, professional connections and the techniques he’s taught me helped me go from a standing start to achieving quite a good level of income very quickly. I suspect if I was doing it on my own it would probably have taken me two to three years to get where I am now. Instead it’s taken about six months doing it full-time. The opportunities and remuneration are huge if you get it right and you’re willing to commit yourself to the business. But my starting point is always helping people – everything else is a bonus.
What’s been your biggest challenge?
It’s probably time management because I’m easily distracted. I do find it difficult sometimes to stay on track and see things through to fruition. Life is busy and we have lots of plates spin! In the early days of the franchise, the biggest challenge was brand recognition and acquiring contacts… there was a lot of networking involved. It cost a lot in money and time and there was no remuneration. Now my biggest struggle is managing the number of people I can see because I have so many clients.
What would you say to anyone considering buying a Maplebrook Wills franchise?
Do your due diligence. Understand the market you’re coming into and have a strong faith that you’re doing good and helping people. Talking to the other franchise holders is worthwhile – we’re in the same boat and suffer the same pitfalls and challenges. But I like Maplebrook so much because they’re so selfless when it comes to time and energy and helping you grow and develop.
Contact Chris Fooks on 01727 225 777 for legacy planning services in St. Albans.