‘Unregulated Cowboy Willwriters’
In July, the Legal Services Board issued a report recommending a system of regulation for Willwriters. The
, who actively campaign for such regulation, welcomed the news. It is a milestone and reinforces their code of practice developed over several years and monitored by the Office of Fair Trading. Institute of Professional Willwriters
However, the press decided to run negative stories and concentrated on the bad practices from so-called ‘unregulated cowboy Willwriters’. The IPW takes these allegations very seriously, which forces independent professional Willwriters to defend their image, and businesses. Negative press creates two important issues. Firstly, it discourages consumers from making a Will because these unhelpful comments leave them confused and less likely to make their Will. Secondly, the headlines do not publicise the enormous amount of progress made in the profession in eradicating bad practice from within the profession.
In response the IPW have issued a ‘Top Ten Tips’ guide to assist consumers in choosing a professional Willwriter. A full version of the guide is available on the blog by clicking here.
In summary, the IPW recommends consumers to ask the following questions of their Willwriter:
— Check the Willwriter follows a code of practice and complies with the regulation of their professional body.
— Check the Willwriter is qualified and follows a continuous development and training programme.
— Check the Willwriter has a minimum professional indemnity insurance cover of £2 million.
— Check the price structure and ensure there are no hidden extras. Be suspicious of ‘low cost Will’ offers.
— Check prices of all services provided. A cheap Will might tempt you, but this might lead to extortionate prices for other products, for example preparing a Lasting Power of Attorney.
— Ask the Willwriter if you can change your mind without being liable for costs.
— Ask the Willwriter if you have to pay before completion of work. In addition, check what happens if the Willwriter fails to deliver, or is late or you are dissatisfied.
— Be aware that you need not appoint the Willwriter to act as your Executor.
— NEVER pay fees for assistance, after your death, to administer your Estate.
— Find out what happens if things go wrong. Is there a clear procedure for dealing with disputes?
I am pleased to accept the role of meetings co-ordinator for the IPW North West. The IPW supports its members with central facilities, but as it grows and prepares for regulation, more regional groups are required. Meetings and networking events are planned for the winter months, and it is hoped some meetings can be opened to non-members.
The next talk is scheduled for Holmfirth library on Thursday 4 August between 2pm and 3pm. I am talking about Wills, Lasting Power of Attorney and Family Protection Trusts.