Government survey reveals surprising results

The Law Society recently commissioned research in the form of a YouGov Poll which questioned approximately 1,554 UK adults.

The survey highlighted that 55% of respondents would prefer will writers to be regulated in some way and of those people surveyed, 95% praised the services received by solicitors.

The survey also found that around 90% of people questioned who had used the services of a solicitor to draft a will were satisfied by the overall process.

Currently, there are no laws or regulations in place to prevent someone from practising as a will writer and charging for those services.

The Legal Services Board (LSB) have campaigned for will writing to be regulated for many years, recommending that it become a reserved legal activity. There was near-unanimous support from legal and consumer groups, however a Decision Notice issued in 2013 by Lord Chancellor, Chris Grayling said at that time, while the evidence indicates there is consumer detriment in the will writing market, and that reservation could address it, the LSB “does not adequately demonstrate that reservation is the best solution or that alternative measures have been sufficiently exhausted in seeking to address this detriment”.

He said instead there should be “further efforts” to see if these alternative measures can be made more effective before resorting to reservation. Do you agree with his comments?

It is thought that badly drafted or ineffective do-it-yourself wills are a major issue for around 38,000 families a year.

With changing family structures over recent years, including higher divorce rates and combined families, the complexities when drafting a will could arise in future if a will is not prepared correctly possibly resulting in unnecessary costs if challenged at a later stage.

The Society of Will Writers recommends there should at least be a minimum of licensing of all will writers to ensure they are properly indemnified, trained and supported. They state that all members of the Society of Will Writers carry professional indemnity insurance, are properly trained and furthermore, are required to complete a minimum of 24 hours ongoing training and education annually.

They also said, in a 2010 survey carried out by the Legal Services Board Consumer Panel, there was no difference highlighted in the quality and service offered between solicitors and professional will writers.

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