LFP150 – Disrupting the World’s Least Digitised Financial Product – Wills & Probate w/Dan Garrett CEO Farewill

The largest financial transaction of your life is also your last – dying! Get it wrong and Boris gets more money for vanity bridges and your relatives are left with a mess on their hands and potentially plenty of squabbles. Get it right and it is smooth for them and you minimise being taxed twice on the same income.

The whole death-related industry – wills, probate (executing wills) and cremations is super-undigitised (98% is still offline). It is into this gap that Dan Garrett co-founder and CEO of Farewill has stepped.

Farewill get 4.9* from >3,000 reviews on Trustpilot so must be doing wills well.

This is a super-important topic – if any of you out there don’t have a will you should get one and now it has been made digitally convenient there is no excuse. You can do it on your phone.

Topics discussed include:

  • where is Haggerston
  • construction projects East and West
  • HS2 crazy cost (~10x the channel tunnel :-O)
  • Dan’s career journey from manufacturing through engineering, design and Japan
  • his experiences in Japan which led to founding Farewill
  • his pre-work organising 15 funerals and getting a qualification in will writing and probate applications
  • in OECD economies the death industry is an $80bn market but only 2% of it is online
  • reasons being inter alia an avoidance of the topic of death until after the fact – this is the main design/brand challenge for Farewill
  • smoothing the journey – cf moving pensions out of DB schemes
  • Farewill have three products – wills, probate and cremations
  • cremations are a nation-wide Farewill product vastly undercutting existing rates at £1k compared to an average price of £4,800
  • cultural differences eg cf Eire
  • “About 10% of the UK wants a non-traditional funeral but about 80% ends up with one”
  • cremation product collects body, unattended cremation and then handing of ashes to the family for their own ceremony as they wish
  • the importance of an inventory of assets
  • the challenge of digital bank accounts et al – if you were run over by a bus tomorrow how would your relatives know eg that you had a Monzo account?
  • the explosion of Fintech is only making this harder – every day there’s a new digital place to put your assets
  • in the UK there is a vast £15bn of unclaimed assets
  • customers really like Farewill’s addendum to their wills which is an inventory of assets as everyone wanders around slightly anxious in the background that no such list exists
  • this is a big driver of their high net promoter score
  • digital archives and challenges therein
  • £90 to make a single will, £140 making a will for two people – it takes on average 12.5 minutes
  • a team of specialists check the will within 24hrs and 40% of people get feedback/suggestions
  • 20-somethings are very underrepresented, marriage, kids, buying a house, divorce tend to be triggering events
  • the huge margins in funeral parlours and the impact of Private Equity players
  • overall this has led to huge inflation in prices – doubled in ten years
  • last year despite a CMA enquiry into the cost of funerals the price still increased by a further 9%!
  • wills need to be signed with two witnesses and also exist as a paper version not just digitised

And much much more 🙂

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