Is it worth using unqualified Will writers?

Despite advice from consumer groups Will preparation is not currently regulated in this country, so anyone can go into the business, regardless of whether they have any qualifications, experience or ability.

The recently reported case of Keith Webber, who was an unqualified Will writer from Chard, Somerset, is a vivid reminder of the need to use a reputable and properly qualified professional. Mr Webber, who traded as “KEWsWills” was jailed for five years in January 2014 at Bristol Crown Court. He had been convicted of Fraud after being found guilty of stealing in excess of £280,000 from his clients. He stole the money whilst acting as Executor or under a Power of Attorney for elderly clients. In one case he actually altered the will to make himself the main beneficiary instead of the charity to which an old lady believed she was giving her money. Despite having no known legal qualifications Mr Webber advertised himself as a “professional lawyer” and a member of the “Association of Lawyers and Legal Advisers” and the “Willwriters Association”. He traded as KEWsWills with a website that described them “Specialists in Will Writing and Associated Legal Services”.

At Harris & Harris, we are regulated, our standards independently checked and everything we do is fully insured, which means that even if something were to go wrong, you are always protected. Our lawyers involved in the preparation of Wills are not only fully qualified and experienced solicitors, but also all members, student members or affiliates of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), the worldwide professional association for practitioners dealing with family inheritance and succession planning.

If you want to see what that means see the STEP Code for the Preparation of Wills which all our solicitors follow when preparing Wills. This covers ethical business practices, and good practice on communication, costs, confidentiality, timing and records.