Articles about solicitors and legal services

Many people still confused about unqualified will writers

Research by the Fellowship of Professional Willwriters and Probate Practitioners shows that many people are still confused about the qualifications needed to set up in practice as a will writer.

More than 1,000 people were interviewed. The survey revealed that more than six out of ten consumers mistakenly believe that a person has to have qualifications before they can start writing wills. More than 600 had assumed that all will writers are solicitors.

This is not the case and badly drafted wills by unqualified practitioners cause enormous problems for many families every year.

The Law Society recently highlighted cases where wills turn out to be invalid because they are not properly drawn up. This means the deceased person’s estate is treated as if he died intestate - that is, without having made a will at all.

The estate is then divided in a way laid down by the law, which could mean it goes to people the deceased person had not chosen. It is also the case that many unregulated will writers are not insured so families have no means of redress when problems arise.

The main attraction of unqualified will writers is usually that they are cheap. However, that often turns out to be a false economy as rectifying the damage caused can often be extremely expensive.

A Law Society spokesman said: "Solicitors know of so many cases of people who have turned to them for help after being left with what can only be described as nightmare wills by will writers.

"We advise people in this situation to consult a solicitor to check the accuracy of their will before it is too late."

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