Will writers to face regulation


The Legal Services Board (LSB) has said that will writing services and professional will writers who are not lawyers must be regulated.


The LSB has found that there are mistakes in 20% of wills and currently will writers do not have to have any training or legal background – anyone can set themselves up as a will writer.

The regulation would also extend to solicitors offering will writing services to prevent mistakes and “sloppiness” and make sure they keep abreast of changes in the provision of will writing services and the law.

The LSB has found cases where relevant names have been left out of the will in error – or some will writers cut and paste from previous documents without checking that the copy makes sense. Families who have been the victims of inept will writing have found that there is very little they can do about it, says the LSB – and the profession is subject to fraud and deception, as well as unfair sales techniques.

Chair of the LSB Dave Edmonds said:

“We all should have a high degree of confidence in those entrusted with the task of writing our wills, advising us on the most appropriate actions, and ensuring that our wishes are carried out."

“We found too many examples of providers – lawyers and will-writers alike – not listening to their clients or being sloppy in their work, meaning those taking the important step of writing a will were also, unfortunately, leaving problems to their beneficiaries.”

A decision on regulating will writers is expected by 2013 but the proposal will first have to go to consultation.

Solicitors in Scotland are already regulated and other will writers in Scotland will be regulated from later this year.

The Legal Ombudsman has said that most of the cases brought before the Ombudsman’s services involve conveyancing, family law and wills.

Chief Executive of the LSB, Chris Kenny, said that people with straightforward wills should still be able to write their will themselves with the help of DIY guides.

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