This week on WHITEBALLOON INSIGHTS Emma explains how a negative and distressing probate experience led to the formation of Laurelo.
Q: Laurelo is a family-owned company founded in 2013. Can you tell us about its history and how you came to be a part of the company?
We engaged a solicitor back in 2012 to deal with a probate matter for a family member. However, the experience we had was outrageous considering we were grieving, and we knew very little about probate or the process. Along with poor communication and unnecessary delays, we kept incurring additional costs and disbursements that hadn’t been flagged up previously, there was little to no personal service. We felt as though we were on a corporate conveyor-belt being processed through the motions without any empathy at all.
After a long hard slog to get our estate sorted, we decided there should be a simpler, kinder, and all-round improved option for families like us that are grieving and want a faster turnaround, with transparent costs and some empathy. After a lot of research and some work experience in the field we decided to do it ourselves. Given our family’s background is in financial services and with a close friend and mentor in the industry it didn’t take us long to help our first client. That’s how Laurelo was started, and it is still family owned today!
Q: People are faced with often unfamiliar administrative tasks after the death of a loved one, at a time when they may be vulnerable and grieving. How does Laurelo make it easier for them to navigate probate and other legal requirements?
We are a company with very old-fashioned values. Every enquiry we get through our dedicated bereavement line is coached through a series of simple questions to establish whether probate is required. We often advise Executors to complete the probate process themselves to save costs if it is a very straightforward case. Once their need is qualified, we offer the Executor/family a no obligation initial meeting (anywhere in England or Wales) which can be done in person or online. At that meeting we simplify probate and explain the options they have moving forward; we also give clear costs and timelines.
Q: You offer support and guidance in other areas too. Is there a key piece of advice that you would give people that would make ‘post death admin’ easier for them and their loved ones?
Yes, getting the Grant of Probate can be a very daunting task whilst grieving. Mistakes can be made which could lead to fines and delays by the court. If it is a slightly complex case or you don’t feel confident in the detail it is always preferable to engage a professional to help but ALWAYS make sure you get a fixed price upfront.
Q: What sort of questions would you recommend that people ask when they are looking for a probate specialist?
Timeframes and upfront clear costs (with no unexpected disbursements).
Q: Covid has meant that many people have been waiting far longer for Grants of Probate or Representation to be issued. Are you finding that this is easing now and what has been the impact of these delays?
The Courts still have quite a backlog, so we do advise to be patient. These additional delays are out of our control, but it does further reinforce the need to get the forms right first time (which we do, as all forms go through a rigorous quality control process). We spend a lot of time keeping families updated on progress and liaising with the courts on proposed timelines for cases.
Q: You have a team of professional and experienced advisers throughout the UK. How do you connect advisers with people in their area?
We have a dedicated bereavement line which goes through to a director on-call. They will qualify the enquiry to ensure probate is required. Subject to geographic location and our consultants’ diaries a convenient appointment is made. The Consultant will then confirm the appointment, explain the documents the Executor will need for the meeting and answer any further questions.
Q: And finally, is there a book, piece of music or artwork that you love or that has a special place in your life?
We lean towards a Spotify playlist in the office and tend to listen to very chilled, relaxed music as being calm and relaxed means we can support our families properly and with empathy. In terms of artwork we have a very special painting by Kevin Day ‘Travellers Rest’ which has huge sentimental value, and often finds one of us getting lost in following a sad phone call on our bereavement line.