Experts have warned that wholly unsuitable wills written by the incompetent, untrained and uninsured will writers remain a risk to contractors and other consumers. The government had recently decided not to regulate the practice of will writing.
The Legal Services Board had collected evidence of two years showing how there was rampant dishonesty, incompetence and bad practice prevalent in the practice of will writing but the government rejected LSB’s recommendation that will writing should be made subject to regulation.
The LSB had shown evidence to the government and the Lord Chancellor that there was enough evidence to show that the market for such a critical services was working contrary to the interests of consumers.
The LSB believes that the onus is now on both regulated and unregulated providers of will-writing services to improve standards and thereby earn back public confidence, given that it reportedly found one in five wills contain mistakes.
The Law Society, which submitted evidence to the board, says the government’s decision will be “deeply disappointing” to consumers who, when using some unregulated providers, have to put up with “incompetent, untrained and uninsured” writers.
The society’s chief executive Desmond Hudson said due to the government’s decision, unregulated providers now could carry on writing wholly unsuitable wills, leaving consumers without any recourse when things go wrong as a result.
He recommended that individuals wanting to draw up a will should approach a probate solicitor, as they were “qualified” and brought “the comfort of an unrivalled regulatory and compensation system to put right any errors.”
A regulated and independent financial adviser to contractors, ContractorMoney, has acknowledged that some individuals may be tempted by “cheap DIY options” when it comes to selecting a will-writing service.
But ContractorMoney’s founder Tony Harris warned that it may prove far more costly in the long-run because their families would have to pay to fix any problems that they leave behind. Mistakes can also be extremely costly in terms of any tax liabilities too.
He urged the contractors to consider the old adage of ‘cheapest doesn’t equal best’ when it comes to will writing. This is one area where saving money in the short term by shopping for a will at the newsagents or worse still, at the supermarket certainly doesn’t pay.