Consumers asked to share will-writing experiencesEvidence required for wills investigation

23 September 2010

Writing a will

Will writers may visit you in your home

The Legal Services Consumer Panel is seeking evidence from consumers about problem will writers as part of an investigation into whether regulation is needed.

The majority of consumers use solicitors to prepare their wills but 7% use other types of unregulated will writers according to the Office of Fair Trading, including specialist will-writing firms, banks and independent financial advisers.

Concerns have been raised about some of the practices of these firms, including consumers being pressured into naming the firm as an executor, which could result in high fees being deducted from their estate when they die, badly drafted wills and the final price of the will being much higher than the advertised price.

These problems were recently highlighted in a BBC Panorama programme.

Dr Dianne Hayter, chair of the Legal Services Consumer Panel, said: ‘A will is one of the most important documents you will ever write, so it’s vital to ensure it is prepared properly. If mistakes are made, your wishes might not be respected when you die and loved ones will be left to pick up the pieces.

‘The case for regulating will writers may rest on whether there are abuses across the industry or just a few rogues who can be dealt with under existing laws. Finding evidence of badly written wills and underhand sales practices will be crucial to establishing this.’

If you have experienced any of the above practices or other problems with non-solicitor will writers, contact the Legal Services Consumer Panel through its website.

Visit our guide to writing a will for more information or have your say on Which? Conversation.

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