Who should prepare your will?

The One Show recently added its support to the growing call for the regulation of will writing in order to protect the public. This follows the Legal Ombudsman highlighting the dangers of using will writing companies to make wills and a report from the Legal Services Consumer Panel recommending compulsory regulation.

A recent survey showed that 67% of consumers wrongly believe that all will writers are solicitors and 82% of the 1,000 people polled thoughts that training and qualifications are required before someone can become a will writer. In fact anyone can write a will for payment. The report from the Legal Services Panel uncovered evidence of poor quality wills, sharp sales practices, and wills being lost as a result of will writing companies disappearing without trace.

Unlike many will writers, professionals such as solicitors and legal executives are regulated, have relevant qualifications, undergo continual training, must be insured and provide redress if things were to go wrong.

Will writers often claim they are significantly cheaper than solicitors but recent research carried out by Which? Magazine found only a modest difference in prices. Given the protection you get by making a will with a regulated professional the small difference in price is well worth it.

However, the report from the Legal Services Consumer Panel also criticised a number of wills prepared for its ‘mystery shoppers’ by solicitors. To ensure that your will is prepared correctly it therefore makes sense to instruct a firm, such as Palmers, which includes amongst its lawyers members of a recognised body of experts in the field, such as the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners or Solicitors for the Elderly.

This article was written by Lee McClellan, Partner at Palmers Solicitors.

August 2011