A recent article in the Telegraph has cast a spotlight on the unregulated will writing industry. In the article, Charlotte Gifford writes of a pensioner who had £150,000 stolen from their estate as a result of a predatory will writing service.

As a firm, we hear these stories far too often. Like the news story above, rogue will writers can make themselves the sole executor of a vulnerable person’s will, only to abscond with funds when the person in question passes on.

Rogue will writers – the need for regulation

There is an urgent need for these firms to be regulated and for the kind of oversight that will protect vulnerable people from fraud. The problem is that many people unwittingly go to these unregulated firms believing them to have the same level of regulation as a solicitor.

While the need for stringent regulation is markedly evident, there seems to be little hunger from the Legal Services Board to conduct a statutory review of the sector. Only through regulation can firms be forced to demonstrate that their staff have the required training, qualifications and insurance to work in the sector.

Unqualified will writers bring a lack of legal expertise

Not only does the unregulated will writing market leave vulnerable people wide open for exploitation, but such firms do not have the requisite legal training to draft wills effectively. This lack of expertise can lead to errors and could lead to needlessly large inheritance tax bills.

Unfortunately, these errors and shortcomings often don’t come to light until it’s too late, leaving the will owner’s estate with a conservable bill to foot.

Why you should always use an SFE solicitor when writing a will.

The Solicitors For the Elderly is a national association of independent lawyers who specialise in services for older and vulnerable people. By working with an SFE-approved solicitor to draft your will, you’ll be protected from the negative circumstances that could arise from using unscrupulous and unqualified will writers.

All SFE solicitors will ensure you understand the legal details of your will, ensuring your wishes are carried out faithfully and that your best interests are always served. Not only that, but we’ll work with you to ensure your estate only incurs the necessary amount of inheritance tax, maximising the assets your friends and family will receive after your passing.

For peace of mind and to protect your future, don’t fall prey to rogue will writers. To find an SFE solicitor, you can go to the SFE website and use their search function.

Julie Burgess is an SFE registered solicitor specialising in wills, trusts and probate. To speak to her about your plans for a new will, contact her today on 0161 930 5117, email her at willsteam@gorvins.com or use our contact form.

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