There has been a huge amount of lobbying over the issue of will regulation over the last few months from within the solicitor’s profession, but the Lord Chancellor has rejected the recommendation by the Legal Services Board to bring will writing within the list of “reserved activities”.
But is this really an important issue?
The legal profession argues that by regulating the provision of will writing, and ensuring that anyone who offers this service is suitably qualified, will protect the general public from “rogue traders”. Considerable anecdotal evidence was provided of fly-by-night companies charging loads and delivering very little, and not being around to pick up the pieces when the client dies.
Lee Young, Partner and Head of our Wills & Tax Team, says “Solicitors have been regulated long since before I joined their ranks, but that hasn’t stopped many solicitors doing a poor job for their clients and giving the profession a bad name. Conversely, not being regulated has not stopped some non-solicitor will writers providing an excellent service to their clients. The reality is that there are similar numbers of good and bad will writers, both within the regulated ranks and outside of it.”
Lee continues “As a solicitor who writes wills for a living, I consider that I am not good at the job because of my training or because I pay an annual fee to the Solicitors Regulation Authority, but simply because I care enough about my clients to try and do the best for them every time. Every good will writer I have spoken to says the same thing.”
So who should you get to write your will? Someone you trust, someone you like, ideally someone recommended to you and someone who is insured in case mistakes occur and claims have to be made.
This is really the crux of the argument – regulation means insurance, and without it there is no protection for you as a consumer. As solicitors, we have to be insured or we cannot practise. If you approach a will writer and he is not willing to confirm the insurance in place, then do not instruct them. Don’t be afraid to shop around!
The team at Frettens is regulated insured and professional, so you can make your will with confidence. But above all, we care about getting the job done well, quickly and for a fee that is fair to all.
For a free initial meeting please call 01202 499255 and Lee or a member of his team will be happy to discuss any questions you may have.