Unregulated Will Writing and Probate Services: A Cause for Concern

Written by Lauren Costelloe

Unregulated Will Writing and Probate Services: A Cause for Concern

These are the words of Sarah Cardell, the Chief Executive of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) while commenting on concerns surrounding unregulated Will writing and online Probate services.

Most consumers assume that Will writing and Estate Administration must be completed by qualified lawyers who are accountable to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx), or other applicable Regulatory bodies. This is a misconception. The act of writing a Will and assisting Executors in Estate Administration are not regulated services. Legally, anyone can write a Will or assist you with probate matters.

According to the Legal Services Board, there were 208,000 unregulated firms handling Wills, Trust and probate issues worth £ 2 billion in 2021. These services are provided by unqualified and uninsured individuals who are not accountable for their actions.

The implications of unfair contract terms and ineffective documents

With the increased cost of living, these unregulated firms pose as an attractive option, however, initial research conducted by the CMA has uncovered breaches of Consumer Protection Law such as unfair contract terms, coercion of vulnerable customers and documents that fail to serve their purpose. Because the service is unregulated, it is not possible to forward complaints to the Legal Ombudsman for redress, and therefore no compensation is available.

The benefits of choosing a regulated and accountable law firm

As per Sarah Cardell, getting your affairs in order is life-changing. Creating your Will ensures that your beneficiaries are chosen rather than dictated by the rules of Intestacy. Administering an Estate efficiently ensures that costs are reduced, Tax liabilities are mitigated and properly assessed, and beneficiaries receive their distributions in a timely manner.

It is therefore important to ensure these services are obtained from regulated and accountable bodies who are able to fulfil your instructions.

If you would like to discuss Wills, Estate Administration or Trusts with one of our expert regulated Private Client Lawyers, please do not hesitate to contact us.

HK Law has offices in Bournemouth, Crewkerne, Dorchester, Parkstone, Poole, Wareham, and Swanage.

 

Other helpful resources

How to avoid getting ripped off by a dodgy will writing and probate firms | This is Money

LSB research on unregulated legal services reveals potential consumer benefits and detriments

CMA investigates will-writing and other legal services

Thousands ‘ripped off’ by unregulated will-writers

 

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