New regulations for will writing services in England and Wales
are being proposed after research from the Legal Services Board
(LSB) showed that 20% of wills contained mistakes.
Currently will writing remains an unregulated market, which
leads to the concern that it could potentially be open to
abuse. The Law Society warns that 'consumers risk
everything if they allow an unqualified and unregulated will writer
to have full control of their estate assets'.
Writing a will is an important decision, both personally and
financially. With many businesses offering will writing
services it is tempting to select the services of a party other
than a solicitor. There are however many reasons why this
could prove to be a risky move and lead to future complications and
Making a will allows you to control how your assets are dealt
with on your death. This is important not only for the maker
of the will, but also for those left behind. Solicitors are
trained in will drafting so that they are able to create a will
that will carry out your wishes and talk you through the options
that will best achieve that. There is no guarantee that
non-solicitors have received any training whatsoever and problems
in will drafting can have profound repercussions for the
bereaved. It may not be possible to rectify mistakes and very
costly to put right those which can be corrected.
Another consideration whilst making a will is effective tax and
financial planning. Only a trained solicitor can give you the
peace of mind that the service you are paying for is fit for
purpose. Errors, mistakes and ineffective drafting by
untrained will writers can lead to a loss of protection financially
for the estate as provisions are rendered void. The Legal
Ombudsman only has the power to act on complaints from those who
have used the services of a qualified solicitor, there is no
recourse for those who have been let down by another service
Solicitors are regulated and are required to have adequate
insurance in place for the protection of their clients. There
are no such requirements for other will writing service
providers. Anyone may set up a professional looking websites
and offer their services as a will writer without any protection in
place for their clients. Another consideration is the safety
of your will, businesses may close or become insolvent and the will
may be lost or destroyed. The Solicitors Regulation Authority
will intervene to ensure the safety of your will if a solicitor
were to close.
Matthew Evans, Partner at Hugh James solicitors commented
"With no regulation in place, the only way to make
absolutely sure that your will reflects your wishes is to employ
the services of a solicitor. This ensures peace of mind for
yourself and your loved ones."
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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A well-meaning friend, relative or even a carer of a deceased person may take what they believe are helpful steps to tidy up a deceased’s affairs in the days following their death to pave the way for those who will carry out the administration of the estate.
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