Wills – Only One Chance to Get It Right

You know it is important to make a Will.  If you don’t your assets will be distributed under the Intestacy Rules which may not be what you would want or your family need.  If you recognise that and make a Will you want to be confident that it will be effective and that your wishes will be carried out.  You can do it yourself, or use a “Will-writer” but if it goes wrong you will be leaving problems for your family, with the risk of disputes and significant legal costs to put things right – if they can be.  If you are making a Will you want to be confident it will do what you want.

As well as being competently drafted and properly signed and witnessed your Will must meet your needs.  Everyone’s needs are different and there are often different solutions to issues.  Sadly, the number of challenges to Wills is on the increase.  Allegations may be made that the person making the Will lacked full mental capacity or were subject to undue influence.  The costs of these cases fall upon the estate, and defending them can reduce or consume the money left.

Unlike Solicitors “Will Writers” are not regulated. Anyone can set themselves up to write Wills; they do not need to follow professional rules about charges, or storage, or be insured. We have seen Will writing businesses come and go – we wonder what happens to the Wills they have written, and if they can be found whether they are worth the paper they are written on.

The Legal Services Board (LSB) the overall regulator for legal services, recently conducted research in this area and found “consistent patterns of sloppiness, simple errors and poor communication” and reported that “too often consumers were subjected to unfair sales practices”, fraud and deception. The LSB has announced proposals to afford greater protection to consumers of Will-writing and estate administration services requiring all providers to be regulated. LSB chair David Edmonds says “it is about maintaining public confidence in an important legal process, enhancing the environment for reputable providers and protecting consumers at particularly vulnerable times in their lives”. We welcome that and hope it will bring everyone up to the standards we set, and save costs and distress.