Six out of 10 consumers are completely unaware that will-writers in the UK are unregulated.
The figures published in the UK Wills, Probate and Trusts Market Report 2018 suggest that a considerable number of people every year entrust the creation of their will to unregulated will-writers without realising the risks of doing so.
The lack of regulation in this area means anyone can set up as a will-writer leaving consumers exposed to the risk of exploitation by unscrupulous and unqualified practitioners.
Solicitors, on the other hand, are subject to strict regulations, granting consumers far more protection and guaranteeing the level of expertise of the professional you are entrusting with your home, savings and assets.
Will-writers often offer their services at a lower price than qualified solicitors, but these costs can spiral once you’ve been hooked. For example, many will-writers are unable to store your will securely as a solicitor would do, so charge extra for arranging storage.
The big issue, of course, is that if there is a problem, for example, involving fraud, dishonesty or misconduct, there is little protection for consumers who use unregulated will-writers.
The lack of clarity around the difference between an unregulated will-writer and a fully qualified solicitor is extremely worrying to me. People assume that if a person is advertising will-writing services they must be qualified and regulated when this is simply not the case.
My advice would be to check the professional credentials of the person you intend to ask to write your will. Ask about their qualifications and any professional organisations that they might belong to. Check which body regulates your will-writer and what protection this affords.
The easiest way around these issues is to appoint a solicitor to write your will. It might appear a little more expensive, but can save a lot of stress for you and your family in the long-run.
Beswicks Legal’s Private Wealth team can handle all of your wills and estate planning needs. We are all fully qualified solicitors and are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). We have a fixed fee approach, so you will know exactly what you will have to pay and this fee will not unexpectedly increase.
For an informal chat phone 01782 205000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org