Should Will Writing Be Regulated?
There are a number of different ways in which you can make a Will in the UK. You can visit a solicitor and ask them to draft one for you, ask a Will drafting company to prepare your Will or you may purchase a ‘Do It yourself’ Will writing pack.
However, by not using a solicitor to produce your Will, you cannot be sure that your Will is valid and if it isn’t, you have no recourse at all. This is because Will writing companies are not regulated in the same way solicitors are The Legal Ombudsman has produced a report urging the government to regulate the Will writing industry so that consumers are protected, whether they choose to use a solicitor or not.
The Legal Ombudsman oversees complaints from consumers against law firms and each law firm and solicitor who practises is regulated by their professional body, the SRA (Solicitors Regulation Authority). They can be disciplined if their behaviour or quality of work is not of the required standard. The Legal Ombudsman recognises that Wills and Probate complaints make up a large amount of their workload, emanating from a regulated professional, so one might safely assume that there are similar quality issues at large in the unregulated Will writing companies sector. However, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) does not agree with the report and suggests that there is no need for new regulation. The MoJ suggests that using or adapting existing regulation under consumer laws would provide ample protection for the people who are using these Will writing services as opposed to regulated solicitors.
They do recognise though that anyone making a Will should feel secure in the knowledge that their family will be looked after and that their wishes will be carried out as per the instructions in their Will.
What is clear though, is that any mistakes made in your Will are most likely not going to become apparent until after you die and this means that your family and loved ones will not only have to cope with their grief, they may have a fight on their hands regarding the validity of your Will.
This information provided in this article is not intended to constitute legal advice and each relationship breakdown requires careful consideration in our view by a fully qualified Solicitor before decisions are made and before you embark on a certain course of action.
Shak Inayat Solicitor 0207 183 2898