Articles about solicitors and legal services

Unqualified will writers could face stricter regulation

There has been growing concern in recent years about the problems caused by unregulated and unqualified will writers.

Currently, anyone can set up in business providing a service drawing up wills. Unlike solicitors, such unqualified providers are not regulated and they don’t have to take out insurance. It means consumers may have no redress if things go wrong.

Unfortunately, things go wrong all too often. There have been several cases where wills have not been properly drawn up and turn out to be invalid. Many people have also ended up paying far more than is necessary, and some have been led into buying further products that they didn’t really need.

The Legal Services Board (LSB) has now begun a Call for Evidence which enables people to comment on how best to protect consumers who use will writing, probate and estate administration services.

The consultation could lead to the LSB proposing stricter regulations for will writers.

The Law Society has already called for reform to ensure that like solicitors, all will providers are subject to strict regulatory control.

A Law Society spokesperson said: 'It is extremely important to talk to a solicitor who can make sure that the will is expressed in a way that is legally watertight. A solicitor will also be able to advise on complex financial issues such as inheritance tax and trusts planning. Solicitors are all trained and regulated. They are required to have adequate insurance to protect the public."

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