Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Will writing is a serious business

Families are being urged to take extra care with the writing of their wills after the Ministry of Justice resisted calls to regulate the industry.

Wills and probate specialist Fiona Mainwaring, from Martin-Kaye Solicitors in Telford, said people should make certain their final wishes are heeded by using a firm of solicitors.

Changes to will-writing rules have just come into effect, but the Ministry of Justice has made it clear that it is not in favour of any form of regulation for will-writing.

The Legal Ombudsman had called for a voluntary complaints scheme to cover the growing number of unregulated wills and probate providers.

But the Ministry said “other options should be explored first, including better guidance for professionals and making better use of existing consumer information and protection”.

Fiona said: “The Law Society has been expressing concern for some time about the absence of regulation for will-writing and the damage this could have on the public. Anyone can set themselves up as a will writer, so it is important to distinguish between those who are unregulated, uninsured and untrained, and solicitors who are highly trained in this area.”

She added: “Anyone of any age who has assets, such as a house, savings or a business – or people they want to ensure are looked after – should make writing a will a priority.

“Not making a will can cause many months of grief for your loved ones. Talking about death and planning for the worst can feel uncomfortable, but you need to consider how much worse the situation would be if you died, or became too incapacitated to put your wishes down on paper.

“The latest law changes include amendments to the definition of a person’s individual personal belongings, and alterations to the rules over who can make a claim against a person’s estate. It is vital that your will writer is on top of all these issues.

“Anyone in doubt about a will writer’s qualifications can check out the Law Society’s ‘find a solicitor’ website, which lists 140,000 solicitors, by practice name, and location.”