What is the difference between a solicitor and Will writer and why does it matter to you?
Posted on 24th August 2023 at 10:45
When considering putting in place a Will the first consideration is who will write it for you. Of course, you can try and write it yourself, but DIY Wills pose their own risks and discussed in our previous blog DIY? Good for the garden shed but not for your Will. So, it is likely that you will seek the professional advice of a solicitor or Will writer.
Paul down the pub might have told you solicitors ‘are a rip off’ and Joan, your elderly neighbour, might have told you about a Will writer who visited her at home and sorted everything out. This might help you make a decision.
But what are the differences between a Will writer and a solicitor and what does it really mean to you?
• Anyone can become a Will writer and Will writers are not legally qualified.
• Will writers are not regulated and may not offer high levels of indemnity for when things go wrong with your Will.
• May be cheaper than solicitors but often use ‘sell tactics’ which may result in products you did not need or understand, particularly if you are vulnerable or elderly.
• Can only usually provide limited advice about Will writing.
• May often work from small outfits with no fixed address which may make storing or locating your Will difficult.
• Have specific qualifications and train for many years to hone their skills, especially in respect of vulnerable and elderly clients.
• Solicitors are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority meaning you have more rights as a customer should something go wrong with your Will and have indemnity insurance in place.
• Offer cost effective pragmatic solutions that fit the client’s particular circumstances and needs.
• Can provide holistic advice on all estate planning matters ensuring all relevant matters are considered such as claims against your estate, tax mitigation and planning and more.
• Usually have fixed addresses and offices and can offer free storage for life in fire-proof cabinets.
It has long been debated in government and the media that Will writers should be subject to increased regulation, most recently in August 2023. A research briefing is currently being undertaken to investigate possible consumer law breaches in will writing, amongst other issues.
“On 24 July 2023, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) launched a new investigation to protect consumers following complaints about unregulated will writing (among other things). The CMA said it had identified various areas of concern involving potential risk to customers and possible breaches of consumer protection law, including, in relation to will writing: misleading advertising, the use of potentially unfair contract terms, and reports of pressure selling and coercion of vulnerable customers.” (Source Regulation of will writers - House of Commons Library (parliament.uk))
If you have concerns or questions about who to use to write your Will please get in touch.
Avery Walters can assist you with all of your estate planning requirements to include:-
• And more
Give us a call on 01423 564551 and speak to a member of the Private Client team who will be happy to assist you with the preparation of your Will, and to answer any questions you may have.
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