Should Will writing be regulated?
Posted on 11th November 2022
Unregulated legal services are meeting almost 10% of people’s legal needs and almost 40% for small businesses.
Will writing is a large part of this unregulated activity, which could be a concern for older and more vulnerable people.
What might regulations in Will writing be like?
In many other countries Wills can only be prepared by qualified professionals. While suggestions for regulation wouldn’t necessarily mean that only solicitors can write Wills it would probably include a requirement to show that anyone providing the service is qualified and has suitable insurance.
A centralised register like Spain’s Central Registry of Last Wills might also be introduced where Wills would be logged and stored, making them much easier to find.
Why is regulation important?
Your Will is probably one of your most important legal documents along with your birth certificate and marriage licence or civil partnership schedule.
You will want to be sure that your estate is passed on as you would wish, so it is essential that your Will is properly drafted, worded, and witnessed. Even small errors can lead to disputes amongst beneficiaries and might lead to a costly court case to resolve the problems. That’s why you need professional advice to be sure your estate is distributed as you would have wanted after your death.
Will regulations be introduced?
In June 2022 the Legal Service Board (LSB) said that it did not plan to carry out a statutory review of the unregulated legal services sector.
Instead, the LSB said that it would review specific problem areas and propose voluntary arrangements for unregulated services such as registration on a list of accredited providers. The Board will also discuss the situation with other regulators such as the Professional Standards Authority for health and social care.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) recently commissioned a review of unregulated legal services in England and Wales. The findings will be used to help develop ideas on how best to improve access to legal services and maintain public protection.
The Society of Will Writers already provides a set of standards for its members which have been created to protect the public and the profession. All Members must follow a Code of Practice, hold a minimum of £2million of professional indemnity insurance, and meet regular training requirements. Any complaints are overseen by a Professional Standards Board.
Angela Jane Will Writing and Estate Planning is a member of the SWW.
Please get in touch to discuss writing a new Will or updating your existing Will.
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