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MP Urges Will Writing Regulations

Will Writing Regulation

21.02.2008

An MP is warning people about to make their last will and testament, that the industry is populated with dishonest operators.

Lorely Burt, the Liberal Democrat spokeswoman for business, enterprise and regulatory reform, said there is no statutory regulation governing the industry.

She added that no specific qualifications are needed to draw up a will, unlike those required for financial advisers and solicitors.

She also claimed in a Westminster Hall debate that criminals have previously set up businesses which have been able to rip-off consumers.

She said: "It's no exaggeration to say that will writing has become a happy hunting ground for the incompetent, dishonest and the fly-by-night operator."

The Solihull MP is now calling on the Government to establish more rigorous guidelines to govern the will writing industry.

But junior justice minister Bridget Prentice said there is no evidence statutory regulation is needed, but did concede the issue has not yet been ruled out.

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Adam Draper, an Associate Solicitor in Irwin Mitchell's specialist Will and Trust dispute team said: "The failure to regulate the will writing industry is a major concern.

"We have first hand experience of will writers setting up businesses without any previous experience. These inexperienced and often incompetent will writers are preparing wills without giving proper consideration to the testamentary capacity of the deceased or the tax implications of the will.

"In many cases the will writers do not operate with indemnity insurance. This creates difficulties for the beneficiaries of the estate when attempting to recover damages for negligence.

"We welcome calls for greater regulation and the need for all will writing firms to have in place compulsory indemnity insurance cover."

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