The Legal Services Board has spent the past nine months examining will writing and estate planning amid concerns that clients could be at risk of fraud, poor service and failure to deliver redress if things go wrong.
The LSB found 20% of wills in England and Wales contained mistakes. There are no regulations covering will writing and estate planning. So anyone can market themselves as providing a will-writing service, and no qualifications or professional indemnity is a given.
Regulating will writing and estate planning will create a level playing field and protect customers’ interests. Regulation will ensure non-legal practices will be governed by the same rules as the legal profession.
There are a staggering number of people in England and Wales without a will. Even those with higher net worth assets or complex family situations fail to make provisions to protect their estate.
At a time when treating customers fairly and fraud prevention is under the spotlight, do not put your clients’ financial well-being in the hands of an ill-equipped will writer.
Will writing and estate planning is a specialised industry that requires expert legal advice from qualified and regulated practices.
Regulation could be 18 months to two years away, but don’t let this stop you securing your clients’ future wishes now. When looking to have a will written for your clients look for a firm that is a member of a professional body and ask what protection is in place for clients.