Be wary of unregulated Will-writers

The Wills & Probate Consumer Research Report 2018, undertaken by IRN Research and Orchard Reports, recently found that six out of ten people who use the services of Will-writers do not know that their work is unregulated.

Whilst using the services of a Will-writer may seem less expensive than instructing a Solicitor or Chartered Legal Executive to draft your Will, it may be more costly for you down the line if something goes wrong.

You do not have to be fully legally qualified to be a Will-writer which means that if you use their services your Will may be drafted by someone without the same knowledge or as much experience as a Solicitor or Chartered Legal Executive.

All Solicitors in England and Wales are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). They have to apply to the SRA to be registered and are unable to legally practice without holding a practising certificate. Chartered Legal Executives are regulated by the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) and must comply with their Membership Requirement Regulations. The SRA offers you protection as you can complain to them or the Legal Ombudsman if your Solicitor does something wrong; such as providing you with legal advice when they do not have the appropriate skills to do so. If you have a complaint about a Chartered Legal Executive, you can also complain to the Legal Ombudsman.

If your Will is drafted by a Will-writer, there is no regulatory body to set standards for the services they provide. If your Will is drafted incorrectly there is therefore no professional body that you can complain to about their work. You may have to seek legal advice elsewhere to correct the mistakes and it may cost you more money to put things right.

Deciding to make a Will is a significant and important decision and you should make sure that your Will accurately reflects your wishes. You should seek legal advice from a Solicitor or Chartered Legal Executive to ensure it is drafted properly.

To discuss any of the issues raised above, please contact a member of the Private Client team on 01384 410410.