A will is arguably one of the most important legal documents you can sign in your lifetime, but as the will-writing sector is currently unregulated, it’s easy to fall victim to rogue will-writers.
As it stands, there are no restrictions in the UK on who can prepare a will: meaning anyone, whether qualified or not, can sell their will-writing services to you. There are currently a staggering 208,000 unregulated firms in England and Wales.
Despite calls to increase regulation, no plans have been made as of yet for that to happen. It comes as a social media survey recently carried out by SFE found that 98% of people believe the sector should be regulated.
Without such regulation, older and vulnerable people are emotionally and financially impacted by unqualified salespeople who lack the proper legal training or qualifications needed to draft a will. More often than not, they lack the specialised expertise to work with vulnerable people, for example, where there is a risk of financial abuse, undue influence and potential capacity issues. Also, complex cases such as wills involving mixed or blended families such as second marriages involving stepchildren from one or both partners. Unregulated firms don’t have the high level of insurance needed in place, which is essential as this protects against negligence in the event wills aren’t completed correctly or if wrong or misleading advice has been given.
As it stands, the current system enables people to make decisions that can have irreversible consequences on families across the country, losing them thousands of pounds and causing emotional distress.
When making a will, always seek the advice of a regulated specialist such as an SFE-accredited solicitor to protect your legal needs. They have the specialist skills, training and expertise needed to work with older and vulnerable clients. The impact of not receiving regulated specialist advice can result in devastating consequences for you and your loved ones.
Our Very own Kathryn Barnett is an accredited member of SFE and is available for consultation to discuss making a will, trusts and Lasting Power of Attorney.