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Solicitors for the Elderly fears thousands of people are putting themselves at risk of being cheated by unscrupulous salesmen who offer to write their wills but who are not adequately qualified, trained or insured.
Last month the UK’s Legal Ombudsman highlighted dangers of using Will writing companies to Make Wills. This week The One Show also called for Will writing to be regulated to protect the public. A recent survey showed that 67% of consumers wrongly believe that all Will writers are solicitors and 82% of the 1,000 people polled thoughts that training and qualifications are required before someone can become a Will writer. In fact anyone can write a Will for payment.
Linda Rees, Consultant Solicitor said, “Will writers need no training and they aren’t regulated so if you choose a Will writing company to do your Will you are taking a huge risk. I have heard horror stories of clients who have used Will writers and then paid the price.” “It can be very costly to sort out after you have gone, leaving your family to pick up the pieces as problems generally only come to light when you have died.
Many people make Wills when they enter their senior years and are targeted by Will-writing companies who often apply high-pressure selling techniques, offering wills for a low or discounted fee, then recommend themselves to be appointed as executors, selling other services without full advice, such as transferring the home into a trust in an attempt to avoid care fees. Terms and conditions can be poorly worded and difficult to understand.
Will writers often claim they are significantly cheaper than solicitors but recent research carried out by Which? Magazine found on average the price of a Will from a Solicitor is £130 and from a Will writer is £107. Professionals, such as solicitors and legal executives are regulated, have relevant qualifications, undergo continual training, must be insured and provide redress if things were to go wrong. Given the protection you get by making a Will with a regulated professional the small difference in price is well worth it.
Linda Rees is a member of Solicitors for the Elderly and can be contacted on 01952 810307 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Solicitors for the Elderly is the UK association of solicitors, legal executives and barristers who provide specialist advice for older and vulnerable people, their families and carers.
2. In many cases wills are undertaken for a fixed fee with free storage of wills and other documents.
3. Solicitors for the Elderly members must follow its Code of Practice so you can be sure
• You will be treated with dignity and respect.
• They will ensure all practicable steps are taken to maximise decision making potential, particularly if you are compromised by physical, emotional and mental difficulties, such as hearing and visual difficulties and will take this into account when communicating, for example correspondence and documents can be produced in large print or Braille.
• They will endeavour to follow a plain English policy and communicate in easy, understandable language, avoiding legal terminology unless necessary.
• They will provide written details of charges.
• They will try to ensure ease of access and parking if you are less mobile.
• Where appropriate, they will offer home visits as an alternative to a visit to the office. Any arrangement will be at a mutually agreed time and cost.
• In the interest of your personal security, they will operate appropriate measures, such as identification passes or passwords.
• They will provide written details of how to complain.
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