Experts Back Conclusions Of Two-Year Investigation Into Industry
By Rob Dixon
Lawyers specialising in will-writing have welcomed the Legal Service Board’s (LSB’s) recommendation to the Lord Chancellor that such activity should be subject to regulation, with the ultimate aim of reducing the potential risks that consumers can face.
Following a two-year investigation into the area and statutory regulation, the LSB has concluded that will-writing activities are added to the list of reserved legal activities.
Outlining the reasons behind the decision, the organisation stated that comprehensive evidence had been identified that the market was not functioning in the best interests of either consumers or providers, while alternatives to statutory regulation have been tried but proved unsuccessful.
The LSB hopes that its recommendation, if accepted, will ensure consumers of will-writing providers have protection and access to any necessary redress through access to the Legal Ombudsman.
Irwin Mitchell’s Wills, Trust and Probate team specialise in providing expert advice to people who are planning for the future and want to put plans in place in relation to how they would like their estate to be dealt with.
Gillian Coverley, Partner and expert in the specialist team, said: “Putting together a will is a major issue and the importance of it cannot be underestimated.
“Because of this, we have had long-held concerns over the fact that such services are offered by unregulated providers, meaning many consumers have been unable to access a consistent service and obtain appropriate redress in the event of any issues arising from the drafting of the wills.
“As a law firm, Irwin Mitchell is subject to scrutiny from the Solicitors Regulation Authority but consumers currently face significant risks when using unregulated services, particularly the fact that they are unable to hold such bodies to account as problems arise.
“This recommendation by the LSB will not only give consumers more protection, but also more confidence that they are getting a high standard of service
“While we hope this recommendation will be introduced, we would always urge consumers to still carefully consider seeking specialist advice from a law firm in relation to this issue. Solicitors like Irwin Mitchell always work to ensure that people get the best information and support when thinking about their future.”