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Using unregulated will writers – a cautionary tale

Nadia Cowdrey

21st August 2019

The amount of unregulated will writing companies has grown recently. Not only are they unregulated, but they are often unqualified, uninsured and costly. As such, they can pose a high risk to consumers.

The first problem lies in the forgivable assumption that will writing companies employ solicitors, or similarly qualified professionals, to advise clients on writing their will. This is often far from the truth, as many have merely attended a few days training on how to write a will, hold no professional qualifications and are therefore not regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).

Does regulation matter?

This lack of regulation increases the chance that your adviser may not be insured for the work they do for you. So if something goes wrong, it’s unlikely you or your estate will be able to recover any losses. Very often the company has folded by the time anyone realises there is a mistake. Similarly, if the advisor makes a mistake that costs you or your estate money, they are unlikely to take responsibility.

Solicitors, on the other hand, are qualified and train for many years. They are strictly regulated by the SRA and part of this includes mandatory insurance to protect clients against loss if something goes wrong.

And the cost?

Contrary to expectation, using a solicitor will often be cheaper. Will writing companies market themselves heavily and promote schemes that may not be appropriate for you. These costs are passed on through high fees.

Don’t risk it

Don’t leave the most important legal document you will ever sign to chance, use a qualified, insured and regulated professional. But in case we haven’t convinced you, here are some tips to help you protect yourself as much as possible.

What to look out for:

  • Check the advisor’s qualifications and experience.
  • Find out what insurance they have to protect you and whether you have recourse if you’re not happy and things go wrong.
  • Read the small print as there are often hidden/extra charges.
  • Ensure what you have been advised is appropriate for your circumstances.

Inappropriately drafted legal documents can prove very costly and there are hidden tax traps and the potential for missed opportunities if you don’t get the right advice.

Leave your will in the hands of the professionals

Griffith Smith has over 135 years experience in wills and all matters related. We are friendly and transparent and always do what is in your best interest. Feel free to call us to discuss your requirements, whether you want to make a will, review existing arrangements and discuss any other matters relating to estate planning.

Call Nadia Cowdrey on 01273 384043, email n.cowdrey@griffithsmith.co.uk


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