Co-op underlines ambitions in later life planning with acquisition of Simplify Probate
06 April 2018
- Grows market leading position by acquiring the UK’s second largest probate provider
- Sets out future ambition to transform later life planning market
- Enhances customer and member proposition with access to bereavement advice
The Co-op today announces the acquisition of Simplify Probate, the UK’s second largest provider of probate, as it sets out its stall to transform the UK’s later life planning market.
This deal cements the Co-op’s position as the leading provider of probate in the UK and underpins its ambition to grow its Later Life business, which currently provides a range of services and products including Wills, probate, lasting power of attorney and funeral plans.
The transformation will see the Co-op’s members and customers benefit from faster distribution of estate proceeds and improved access to regulated estate planning services. Co-op Legal is accelerating its investment in technology and services to deliver premium regulated services at affordable fixed prices.
Simplify Probate, which is part of the Simplify Group of companies, has been a specialist provider of probate and estate administration for more than 25 years.
Simplify Probate also runs an established Bereavement Advice Centre which provides access to practical bereavement advice online and by telephone. The acquisition supports Co-op’s ambition to deliver bereavement services for customers and members.
The Simplify Group has a market leading residential property services company, Move With Us, which has a national estate agent network. Co-op Legal will work in a strategic partnership with Move With Us, and its sister businesses DC Law and JS Law, to handle the property and conveyancing requirements as part of the administration of estates.
Matt Howells, Managing Director of Co-op’s Legal Services and Later Life business, said:
“We’re very excited about the Co-op’s potential to transform later life planning in the UK and the acquisition of Simplify Probate is a key part of that ambition. This agreement will help us increase access to quality, fixed-fee probate services in what is a fragmented market.
“Our focus is on delivering a suite of fully regulated end-to-end services for later life planning, whilst also promoting a better way of doing business through a faster and more transparent way of delivering probate.”
David Grossman, CEO, Simplify Group added:
“We are proud to have built a business that will now combine with the Co-op to create the undisputed leader in the industry.
“The sale of our probate business to the Co-op allows the Simplify Group to increase our focus and scale in conveyancing and property services. We are thrilled to be entering into a long-term strategic partnership to provide conveyancing and property services to the new enlarged Co-op probate business and look forward to delivering exceptional service to its customers.”
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About The Co-op:
The Co-op, one of the world’s largest consumer co-operatives, with interests across food, funerals, insurance, electrical and legal services, has a clear purpose of championing a better way of doing business for you and your communities. Owned by millions of UK consumers, the Co-op operates a total of 3,750 outlets, with more than 70,000 colleagues and an annual turnover of approximately £10 billion.
Home to the UK’s leading funeral provider, Co-op Funeralcare conducts almost 100,000 funerals annually across over 1,000 funeral homes. Combined with its leading legal services business, the Co-op is also a national provider of later life products and services ranging from funeral plans, through to wills and probate.
Co-op Legal Services, which is fully regulated by the Solicitor’s Regulation Authority, became the first alternative business structure (ABS) in the UK in 2012, and has long been established as a market leader in Probate and estate administration and as one of the leading Will writing businesses in the UK.
In early 2016 the Co-op acquired Collective Legal Solutions. Now fully integrated into the Co-op Legal Services business as Co-op Estate Planning, this complements the businesses online and telephone services by providing face-to-face legal advice on Wills, Probate and Later Life Planning throughout communities across the UK.
About the Simplify Group:
The Simplify Group is a property legal services group comprising DC Law, JS Law, Move with Us and QualitySolicitors. Move with Us is one of the UK’s largest panel management conveyancing companies, with a network of over 1,200 independent estate agents across the country and panel manages over 50,000 conveyancing instructions each year. It is also a significant property sales and services business working with estate administrators, new homes developers and lenders. DC Law and JS Law are leading volume conveyancing providers with 250 staff located over 3 UK sites. QualitySolicitors is the UK’s leading branded network of law firms, present in around 150 locations across the country.
The Simplify Group was formed in Sep 2014 following an acquisition by Palamon Capital Partners, a private equity partnership managing funds with €1.3 billion of equity capital for investment and backed by some of the biggest investment institutions in the world.