According to the paper, probate solicitors from the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) have found that nearly two thirds of the society’s members have encountered incompetence or dishonesty in the will writing market. Even where will writing is done in good faith, even a simple error can result in someone dying intestate despite having drafted a will prior to their death – making it that much harder to get probate of estate and turn assets over to beneficiaries.
Lewis Hymanson Small, a law firm based in Manchester, says that without regulation there is little pressure to make sure that wills are correctly drawn up to the high standards demanded by wills and probate law upon an individuals death.
“I handle many family disputes that have arisen as a result of poorly written wills put together by unprofessional businesses,” Howard Burns, a senior wills and probate solicitor told the FT Adviser. “It would save a lot of time, money and upset if there was regulation in the industry to ensure only professionals can write a will.”
The STEP survey of 693 members also revealed that two thirds of practitioners had found customers stung by will writing services that charged hidden fees excluded from the original stated price. Slightly less (63%) said they had encountered problems with finding client wills due to the will writing company going out of business and failing to hand the documents on to another secure holder.
This call follows BBC Panorama’s investigation on Will Writers, “Wills – the final RIP off” http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00tfqqj .
The fraud case surrounding Willmakers of Distinction (UK) Limited based in Lincoln illustrated the extreme problems that can arise from using an unregulated will writer.
Brentwood and Chelmsford based, Affinity Wills, who were mentioned in the program, responded to critism of their service and bounced cheques via the BBC website http://news.bbc.co.uk/panorama/hi/front_page/newsid_8893000/8893607.stm .
If you are concerned about a Will made by a Will Writer we can assist – for help and assistance in regulating your affairs, obtaining probate or writing a new Will call David Farr or Keith Darvill on 01708 757575