It says that wills contain some of the most important financial and personal decisions that people ever have to make. In spite of this, will writers who are called upon to help people make those decisions don’t need to have any qualifications and are not subject to any regulatory control.
The Law Society president, Linda Lee, said: ‘”Anyone in England and Wales can operate as a will writer. Many of those calling themselves will writers may have purchased a franchise to do so and are free to prepare wills without any training or insurance protection.
“The fact that most problems are detected after the individual has died is a strong argument for establishing a robust regulatory framework.”
In contrast to other will writers, solicitors are subject to strict regulations so when they draw up a will they have to comply with the highest professional standards.
Lee 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.”
Research by the Law Society found that most people are unable to distinguish between regulated will providers such as solicitors and other providers who are not regulated.
However, 82% of people surveyed said they would be prepared to pay more to have their will drafted by a regulated provider who had a formal complaints procedure and a compensation scheme.
Please contact Dominic Mackenzie if you would like more information about wills and probate.