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Solicitor launches e-petition to get will writers regulated

WIQS 'may have influenced' Grayling's refusal not to regulate

28 August 2013

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WIQS 'may have influenced' Grayling's refusal not to regulate

Ken McRae, a solicitor in Whitchurch, Shropshire, has started an e-petition calling on the government to reverse its decision not to regulate will writing.

McRae told Private Client Adviser's sister title Solicitors Journal that he decided to launch the petition after Chris Grayling, in his role as lord chancellor, rejected the LSB's recommendation that will writing should be a reserved activity earlier this year.

McRae said he was concerned that the justice secretary was aware that the Law Society was going to create a will-writing quality scheme and this influenced his decision. The Wills and Inheritance Quality Scheme or WIQS is due to be launched at the end of October.

"It's yet another layer on top of being a solicitor that we have to comply with," McRae said.

He said that unlike the society's CQS scheme for conveyancing, which helps solicitors get access to lenders' panels, there was "no such impetus" for private client solicitors to join the WIQS scheme.

However, he did acknowledge that firms without WIQS might find that their insurers picked up on it.

"It still does not get round the fact that many will writers are unregulated," McRae went on. "Will the public pay any concern to the scheme? I've had dealing with will writing firms where we've had to put right things they have done wrong."

McRae said several hundred firms had registered an interest in WIQS, including his own firm, Hatchers.

"Registering an interest and joining the scheme are two separate matters. Whether all the firms join the scheme is quite another matter."

McRae added that the fact that 743 people had signed the petition was "encouraging" but "nowhere near" the 10,000 needed for a response from the government.

Announcing WIQS last month, Des Hudson, chief executive of the Law Society, rejected the idea that it was simply a money-making scheme and warned that "simply being a solicitor is not enough" in the face of competition from new internet-based services like Rocket Lawyer and LegalZoom and from the accountancy profession.

Membership fees have been set at £350 plus VAT per firm for the first year, plus £30 per practitioner covered. Ongoing membership will be £368 plus VAT per firm, plus £32 plus VAT per practitioner.

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Wills, Trusts & Probate