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Innovation online drives Co-op’s later life planning business

An increasing number of people are turning to digital channels to plan for the later stages of their life, according to Co-op.

More than a third of Co-op Legal Services’ wills business now comes from its online channel (35%),* since the introduction of its online will service in October last year. It is also attracting a younger audience online, with the average age of those purchasing a will in this way being 49, compared to 53 via traditional channels.

As 45% of UK adults currently do not have a will** Co-op launched the service to help tackle the later life planning gap among time-poor UK adults. The online service was developed based on user research so has been designed to use plain English and avoids the use of complex language and legal jargon.

The online will service guides customers through a set of questions using clear language, tailored to the individual’s personal circumstances. Then, for peace of mind and reassurance, every customer uses an online booking system to arrange a follow up telephone call with a Co-op professional Will Writer to answer any questions and finalise instructions before the will is drafted. For transparency, costs of fixed fee wills are provided upfront, ensuring customers who are making a will fully understand the cost involved.*** The service also includes lifetime storage of the signed will at no extra cost.

The business has also recently launched a similar online service to enable people to make a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) – the legal document that allows a trusted person to manage an individual’s affairs in the event they lose mental capacity.

Co-op’s Funeralcare business has also seen an increase in people taking out a funeral plan online and a 50% increase in people purchasing a plan via their mobile phones ****.

Matt Howells, MD of Co-op Legal Services and Later Life Planning, says:

“Often people are daunted by where to start with later life planning and this means they can sometimes put it off completely. By offering greater accessibility online and giving people the tools and information they need to make informed decisions, we are giving individuals the flexibility to plan at a time that suits their needs. This complements the existing service we offer, where people can always speak to an advisor over the phone or face-to-face.”

James Antoniou, Head of Wills at Co-op Legal Services, says:

“Too many people die without a valid will in place and this can often lead to confusion and complexity for the families left behind. One of the main barriers to making a will is actually finding the time to get around to doing it. The Co-op Online Wills Service helps people overcome this barrier. “You can start your will anytime, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. However it isn’t just about accessibility, we’ve designed it to be easy-to-use and this empowers people to understand what’s involved and the information that’s needed. We want every client to make a will that’s right for them and that’s why we make sure they can speak with us, ask any questions and get the reassurance they need before their will is finalised.”

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