The first Legal Ombudsman report published in July 2011 reveals
thousands of people may be receiving sub-standard services from
unregulated companies offering consumer financial products.
Chief Ombudsman for England and Wales Adam Sampson has called on
the Government to take action to ensure consumers are not left
vulnerable by unregulated services, after revealing most of the
complaints he saw concerned conveyancing, family law and the
writing of wills.
Sampson said: "One service which crops up a lot is will
writing. It is a service carried out often by will writing firms
who aren't regulated. Because of this, customers are left with
little means of redress when things go wrong."
This week The One Show also called for will writing to be
regulated to protect the public. A recent survey showed that 67% of
consumers wrongly believe that all will writers are solicitors and
82% of the 1,000 people polled thoughts that training and
qualifications are required before someone can become a will
writer. In fact anyone can write a will for payment.
Partner at Hugh James solicitors, Matthew Evans, said
"The report highlights the importance of getting
regulated, professional legal advice for services like preparing a
will. At Hugh James we give advice to thousands of individuals each
year on making their will to ensure their wishes are carried out
and issues such as care of family members and distribution of
estate can be handled quickly and efficiently."
Des Hudson, chief executive of the Law Society for England and
Wales, said the gap in regulation was damaging to solicitors, who
faced competition from unregulated firms.
"It is also damaging to consumers because the
unregulated providers are not insured, do not provide a
compensation fund and are not covered by the legal ombudsman's
scheme for consumer redress."
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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.
A discussion on the increasing number of family feuds over disputed wills that result in cases before the High Court.
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