The Co-op has noted a surge in demand for will-writing services and divorce inquiries thanks to the coronavirus lockdown, an article in the Guardian reported this week.

The mutual said will-writing services went up by 69 percent, while divorce inquiries peaked by 300 percent. The Co-op moved its legal services online to help cope with the lockdown restrictions that limited face to face meetings, a move that proved popular with its customers.

Shirine Khoury-Haq, the firm’s chief financial officer, said Covid-19 had made people take their mortality more seriously, and that most clients sought straightforward wills, rather than complicated estate planning.

Spending too much time together

She added that the divorce inquiries surge seemed obvious, as lockdown brought relationships into sharp focus when couples were forced to spend so much time together. Previous escape routes had been closed off as leaving the house to avoid your partner became much more limited.

Co-op Legal Services (CLS) said its online consultations with legal advisors were already on the increase prior to the pandemic and this was likely to continue. The Co-op introduced a bereavement notification and advice service to help people deal with a deceased’s affairs by providing them with help with informing financial institutions, stopping junk mail and closing social media accounts.

Typically, CLS said, families needed to deal with an average of 12 organisations when a person died. The organisations ranged from the Government’s Tell us Once service to pension providers, insurance companies, utility providers and other legal requirements. The new service provides bereaved families with a single point of contact.

Finders International provides a Missing Will Insurance service via Aviva. This protects against the existence of a will or against a later version of the one held and provides peace of mind. Contact us on [email protected] to find out more.

Profit rise

The Co-op was able to deliver a 7.6 percent rise in revenues to £5.8 billion and profits rose 35 percent to £27 million. This was despite the £54 million rise in costs, some three-fifths of which was offset by the government in the form of furlough payments and business rates holidays.

The food side of the business also benefited, with sales growing by 5.2 percent and a 46 percent rise in profits (£175m). The group was able to employ 7,000 temporary members of staff at the peak of the pandemic as supermarket shopping increased across the board.