Following many months of discussion on the subject, the Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has rejected a recommendation from the Legal Services Board that will-writing should be regulated.
In a Ministry of Justice statement, he said that an LSB report claiming that there is ‘consumer detriment’ in the will-writing market did not adequately demonstrate that bringing will-writing activities within the definition of reserved legal activities is the ‘best solution’.
The Law Society has, understandably, reacted to the decision with dismay.
Desmond Hudson, Chief Executive, said: ‘Consumers have been let down by this deeply disappointing decision. We provided plenty of evidence to the LSB, demonstrating that consumers are at real risk from certain unregulated will-writers who can be incompetent, untrained and uninsured.
‘Thanks to the government’s decision, unregulated providers can carry on writing wholly unsuitable wills, leaving consumers without any recourse when things go wrong as a result.
‘Until the government changes its minds on this, the only sensible choice for consumers is to have a solicitor to write your will, and to ensure a solicitor is chosen to administer the estate of your loved one. A solicitor is qualified and brings the comfort of an unrivalled regulatory and compensation system to put right any errors.’
Client watchdog the Legal Services Consumer Panel also condemned the decision. Chair Elisabeth Davies said: ‘This decision is extremely disappointing news for consumers and makes no sense given the sheer weight of evidence of consumer detriment and the wide consensus backing regulation.
‘Anti-regulation dogma has triumphed over what is in the best interests of consumers.’
We have written on several occasions about the risks of not using unregulated Will-writers. You can read more about this subject here.