Helen Hill LL.B (Hons.) FCILEx TEP
Licensed Conveyancer and Probate Practitioner | Commissioner for Oaths | Chartered Legal Executive
Writing a Will is one of the most important things a person can do for their family and everyone else they leave behind. It is an essential step for anyone who is planning for the future and wishes to look after their family’s interests. Surprisingly a recent survey confirmed that 61% of adults in the UK still haven’t written a Will but for those who take this important step it isn’t always the cathartic experience they expect, for them or their families.
Will writing is still an unregulated activity which means that anyone can set up as a will writer, with little or no training, and charge clients to produce legal documentation. More often, household names with widely known brands are offering will writing as part of their services.
In a case reported recently a woman is taking legal action against Barclays as a result of problems caused by the bank’s low cost will writing service that her late father used to write his Will. The Financial Ombudsman conducted an investigation and found that the Barclays Will writing service had omitted what should be a simple formality in the process in relation to the severance of a joint tenancy. The consequences of this being omitted resulted in the woman not receiving the half share of the London property owned by her late father in accordance with his wishes.
Putting your trust in a well-known name or a generalist legal firm is not always the best option for writing your will. Instead you should find a company who specialises in estate planning. More importantly, seek out those who voluntarily subject themselves to external regulation and who have staff holding industry recognised qualifications that show both experience and knowledge in writing wills.
The Planning Crowd are proud to be a member of the Institute of Professional Will writers and to adhere to their Trading Standards approved code of practice. We have an in-house legal team with specialisms in both private client and property law and all work is overseen by qualified Trust and Estate Practitioners (holding the STEP diploma in Trusts and Estates in England and Wales). All our work is insured under £5 million professional indemnity cover and we are committed to providing the best possible advice at competitive prices. We have over 80,000 clients who trust us with their estate planning and we hold over £300 million in trust assets.
Our advice would be to check the credentials of anyone you employ to write your Will, even if they are a household name for other services.