Consumers fail to recognise importance of Will writing regulation

Published: 14/11/2013

Customers seeking Will writing services are not prepared to pay for regulatory protection, new research from the Legal Services Board (LSB) suggests.

In a recent survey 2500 participants were asked how much they were prepared to pay for three types of protection for eight areas of legal services:

  • The imposition of minimum training standards on practitioners
  • Compulsory compensation arrangements
  • Monitoring by a professional regulator.

Whilst consumers were willing to pay significantly extra for regulatory protection for such legal services as conveyancing and employment law, they were reluctant to pay anything towards the regulation of Will writing.

However there is a belief from the LSB researchers that this unwillingness to fund Will writing regulation is largely due to the assumption that such protection is already included in the cost.

David Harvey is the Chief Executive at the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP):

“Often people have a tendency to underestimate wills as an active and changing area of law, and believe that anyone can write a Will. Two thirds of the population do not make a Will, clear proof that this is a low priority, compared to, for instance, employment law, which is much more in the public eye. Thus the unwillingness to pay of regulatory protection is hardly surprising. What is more, in such a complex area beneficiaries seldom even know if they have lost out due to incompetence from an unqualified advisor or straight dishonesty. With frequent new case law, amendments to legislation and societal changes it is, however, essential that practitioners in this area are qualified and up-to-date with latest developments.”

Content correct at time of publication

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