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Legal Services Board lawyer’s regulatory body has said that people who were willing to write a Will were suffering unfair sales practices, fraud and deception. (12 April 2012)

Date: 12/04/2012
Duncan Lewis, Legal News Solicitors, Legal Services Board lawyer’s regulatory body has said that people who were willing to write a Will were suffering unfair sales practices, fraud and deception.

The board was now planning to regulate will writing to improve standards to help maintain public confidence in an important legal process.
In a report published on Monday the LSB has said that it found systemic problems with the services delivered by different types of providers.
David Edmonds the LSB’s chairman said that it was necessary to regulate writing of will as there was evidence where it was found that the lawyers were not listening to their clients.
He added that there was a consistent pattern of carelessness, simple errors and poor communication which was not acceptable to the customers. The LSB said that it was aware of some form of fraud and deception. There was one too many occasions when consumers were subjected to unfair sales practices it said.
The report followed after a survey by the LSB of 100 people who needed a will and found that 20 per cent came back with basic errors in their wills.
Some of the wills were drafted so badly that they could not be executed. Currently anyone can write a will but the plan seeking changes to will-writing will make it a reserved activity for the first time and it would require to be registered with one of eight professional bodies.
The plans would be put out to consultation before going to Lord Chancellor Ken Clarke at the end of the year, which would ensure a standard of protection for consumers, effective regulation, and to enable competition and innovation.
Mr Edmonds said that the LSB was “not about extending regulation for the sake of it”. But eventually, people must be able to write a will with confidence, not fear. For that to be possible, everyone offering such services must set a standard of consumer protection.
The changes were to instil public confidence in an important legal process by improving the overall conditions for reputable providers; and protecting consumers at particularly vulnerable times in their lives.
The LSB oversees eight approved regulators, which in turn regulate individual lawyers, including the Law Society and the Bar Council.
The Citizens' Advice Bureau has warned that increasing numbers of people have been conned by bogus will writers with elderly and low income people unable to afford solicitors falling prey to such door to door campaigners.
Last night a Ministry of Justice spokesman said that Will-writing was an important issue which had its bearing on every family. It said it would give a careful consideration to any recommendations brought forward by the LSB.

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