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Will warning

If you have used a  Will writer to prepare a  Will for you, you should be aware that an Independent review of legal service regulation has recommended accreditation for all  Will writers. Reviewing your Will with a solicitor is now advisable to make sure it is comprehensive and covers all of your current and future requirements.

The Independent Review of Legal Services Regulation was commissioned by the Centre for Ethics and Law in the UCL Faculty of Laws and it was published on 11 June 2020.

The report has highlighted a number of concerns about the quality of  Will writing and it found that, “as the issue of  Wills of questionable validity and quality was prevalent amongst both regulated and unregulated  Will writers, the current regulation and its supervision and enforcement did not provide adequate protection”.

This isn’t a new issue and unfortunately for many people the failures in estate planning or  Will drafting may not be known for many years.  The report also found that as modern life has changed and with it issues such as increasingly complex family relationships, often combined with increased longevity and associated questions about mental capacity
(to make a  Will) were raising the risk profile still further.

The report is proposing that there should be a single regulator for all legal services in the future, and that the regulator should require appropriate accreditation for every  Will writer, even those who are otherwise fully qualified lawyers. In the short term, it suggests the registration of unregulated  Will writers.

The report also encourages both newly registered and existing practitioners whose practice includes the preparation of  Wills, powers of Attorney and estate administration to join one of the voluntary specialist accreditation schemes, such as the Law Society’s  Wills and Inheritance Quality Scheme and STEP schemes.

All adults should have a  Will and we recommend reviewing it every five years or on major events in life such as marriage, divorce, the birth of a child or grandchild, buying a property etc.

Gullands’ Partner Alex Astley is a member of STEP and to arrange to review an existing Will or make a new Will contact