Consumers must have greater protection in will writing market, says Jonathan Hall from Plymouth Solicitors, Gill Akaster LLP.
Jonathan Hall has suggested that there should be greater regulation of the will-writers to match that of solicitors after BBC Panorama's Wills: The Final Rip Off? revealed the risks of using will writers.
He is calling for a level playing field in the will writing market to ensure consumers have greater protection against inaccurate or poorly drafted wills, as seen on the Panorama investigation into the unregulated will writing industry last night.
Jonathan Hall says:
"The Panorama investigation emphasises a problem the Gill Akaster has been highlighting for some time that there are severe risks to consumer in using unregulated, unqualified and uninsured will writers. Unlike solicitors, will writers are not robustly regulated by law, nor are they thoroughly insured (if at all) to protect against errors.
"Solicitors are qualified to write wills, their obligatory insurance cover means that the client's interests are protected and they are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Should anything go wrong the client and their estate are fully protected. Will writers cannot offer that protection or basic competence."
Last year, a study by the Law Society found that many solicitors were being passed botched wills that had been originally written by will writers.
Jonathan Hall says: "Until there is greater regulation and protection for consumers on wills, the best possible option to the public is to use a solicitor. Moves by some will writing organisations to impose a code of practice on their members is a small step in the right direction, but until there is an equal level of protection to clients irrespective of whether they are a solicitor or a will writer, the public remain exposed to the risks highlighted on Panorama by some will writers. We look to the consumer bodies to support in our drive for better consumer protection."
If you do not have a will and need a solicitor write one, contact Jonathan Hall of Gill Akaster Solicitors on 01752 203500.