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Government rejects advice to regulate will writing

We are disappointed to hear the recent news that despite a two year investigation by the Legal Services Board the Government has rejected the advice to make will writing a regulated activity. This is despite comprehensive evidence that the interests of consumers were not being protected.

The Legal Services Board recommended that Will Writing was added to a list of reserved legal activities that can only be undertaken by qualified lawyers.

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has rebuffed the recommendations and stated that : ‘To ensure that the costs/burdens of increased regulation are not imposed unnecessarily, further efforts should be made to see if [alternative] measures can be made more effective before resorting to regulation.’  Such measures appear to be a strengthening of existing regulation, voluntary codes for of practice for non-authorised persons and better education for consumers.

Desmond Hudson, chief executive of the Law Society has said that consumers have been let down by this decision. “thanks to the Governments decision…unregulated providers can carry on writing wholly unsuitable wills, leaving consumers without any recourse when things go wrong as a result.

The need for Will writing to become a regulated activity was  highlighted recently when an unscrupulous Will Writer was jailed for Fraud after claiming that recent changes in the law had made clients’ Wills invalid and he offered to update the Wills for £60.  He also ran another firm claiming to store Wills in a secure facility; whereas the Wills were actually stored in his airing cupboard at home.

The qualified Wills and Probate team at Blacks deal with all aspects of Wills including inheritance tax planning and care fee planning and are able to provide an efficient and cost effective service.

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