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Panel’s Call For Wills And Probate Regulation Welcomed By Experts

Report Recommends New Regime For Estate Administration Services


Experts at Irwin Mitchell have welcomed calls from the Legal Services Consumer Panel for all probate and estate administration services to be formally regulated.

Following the Consumer Panel’s report into the Will writing market issued in July 2011, the latest publication outlines the Panel’s view of the key elements of a proposed regulated regime on probate and estate administration, which may include suitability checks on individuals carrying out those services, efforts to ensure consumers are financially protected and a full complaints system.

The Panel has suggested that the move would offer consumers better protection when using estate administration and probate services.

Irwin Mitchell’s Wills and Estate Administration team, which provides expert advice to those putting plans in place for the future and people who need help and assistance to wind up an estate, said the proposals were welcome. The team was also quoted within the Panel’s report into the issue.

Gillian Coverley, the Partner who leads the team, said: “Consumers need confidence that those appointed to deal with an estate after death, will act in the best interests of that estate, properly account for their actions and protect the financial position of the estate for the beneficiaries.

"Consumers also need to be secure in the knowledge that there is proper redress available if that proves not to be the case.

“As a law firm, we are subject to proper guidance from the Solicitors Regulation Authority and pride ourselves on providing the highest possible level of service on all issues.”

The Panel’s report highlights that there is an increasing number of consumers who ‘DIY’ the probate process, and Gillian feels that an overall lack of regulation in this area means it is difficult to compare probate services between providers, particularly between those already regulated through professional bodies and those completely unregulated.

She outlined: ”This may be confusing consumers to the extent that they fail to instruct anyone to help them through what can be a lengthy and often complex process because they simply don’t understand the range of services on offer, why they need them and what represents a good service.

“Regulating Wills , Probate and Estate Administration industry will ensure a level playing field and encourage consumers to seek proper regulated advice at a time when they need it most.”