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LSB calls for regulation of will writing

30 April 2012

The LSB has called for will writing and estate administration to become reserved activities.

The move comes as no surprise, after the LSB’s consumer panel made similar recommendations in July last year (see solicitorsjournal.com, 19 July 2011).

David Edmonds (pictured), chairman of the LSB, said people should be able to write a will “with confidence, not fear”.

He went on: “For that to be possible, everyone offering such services must deliver a baseline of consumer protection.

“This is not about extending regulation for the sake of it. It is about maintaining public confidence in an important legal process, enhancing the environment for reputable providers and protecting consumers at particularly vulnerable times in their lives.”

Edmonds said the LSB had found too many examples of “lawyers and will writers alike” not listening to their clients or being sloppy in their work.

“The prevalence of poor sales practices, and indeed the incidence of fraud, was also disappointing.”

Elisabeth Davies, chair of the legal services consumer panel, said: “This is the clearest signal yet that will writing and estate administration will become regulated.”

Davies said that, even with a “fair wind”, it would be some time before regulation actually arrived.

Paul Sharpe, chairman of the Institute of Professional Willwriters, said it was “scandalous” that people who wanted to make a will ran the risk of “being duped by high-pressure sales tactics, inappropriate advice or incorrect documents”.

He said the LSB had identified many of the institute’s membership requirements in its recommendations for a regulatory regime, including protection for consumers’ money, indemnity insurance, training and compliance and monitoring checks.

The LSB has also promised to examine other gaps in legal services regulation, starting with ‘general legal advice’ for individuals.

Categorised in:

Regulators Wills, Trusts & Probate