The horrors that unregulated Will writers can leave behind

By Vint-tro / 20th March 2024

As a lifestyle brand, we often engage in conversations about the legal requirements we all have in our busy lives, which is mainly driven by our insurance knowledge.  

Whether this is to insure your car, your home or business, you may not always like it, but legally you have to have it!

Now, we love to talk about cars, which to our community are very precious, and one topic we often discuss is “who will we leave our cars to in the event that we die”? Now, not a great topic we admit but one that keeps popping up. 

Just recently, we had a conversation with a solicitor who specialises in Wills, Trust and Probate at Ellisons Law Firm. Our conversation was around her client who has a rare Aston Martin and wanted to leave the car to a nominated person in their Will. In addition, we had a further discussion about its current and future value, we're guessing for inheritance tax reasons!

As with many of us, enjoying life is the key priority so preparing your Will is something that is not always at the top of our priorities. Unfortunately, this is a very important aspect of our life which is often forgotten about and this is why 61% of British adults do not have a Will, this equates to 30 million people.

A Will is not always as complex as you may think. Assets of inheritance such as a precious car, jewellery, home and property are relatively straightforward to create. However, we recommend you make sure your Will is written by a qualified and professional person. 

We now live in a digital world which is great, however this world can leave us very exposed and Will writing can often fall into this category.

We encourage most people to have a Will professionally written, to ensure your final wishes are known and clearly laid out but we strongly advise caution around who you instruct to do this for you. 

Just recently, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) launched an investigation into unregulated Will writing companies, who potentially break the law.

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Unfortunately, the problems these Wills (referred to in this article as unregulated Wills) leave behind are often not known until years later as recently explained by a Partner at Ellisons Solicitors. They said;

“The rise in unregulated Will writers really is a problem, “These people boast they are cheaper, faster and on the face of it, genuine and legitimate. So why wouldn’t vulnerable people who need a Will use them?

While the industry has been aware of their operations for a while, the consequences of using them is only now coming to light as people who have used their services are now passing away. 

It can only be then that their arrangements are unravelled and problems identified. Because while unregulated Will writers look like a good idea in the short term, some are offering advice that is actually detrimental to their client and their family.”

Our Solicitor went on: “You only have to search on the internet to see adverts promising you a Will in as little as a few minutes and for only for a few pounds. There is this misconception that not only do they cost you less money, but they have the same level of experience as a trained lawyer, which of course they don’t. This not only means your Will may be invalid, but they also don’t have the same duty of care as a regulated lawyer which can lead to clients being oversold documents that they simply don’t need”

The adage of paying cheap, you’ll pay twice is very prevalent, so when it comes to something so important as your Will, you really can’t afford to get this wrong.

By instructing an experienced lawyer, you have the comfort of their extensive legal knowledge and expertise along with peace of mind your Will will be prepared exactly to your needs and circumstances. On top of this, law firms are required to have professional indemnity insurance, which protects you if something was to go wrong at a later date.

Our advice would always be to do your research. Make sure your Will writer has the right qualifications, has appropriate insurance and is regulated.

In the meantime, enjoy your precious car and if the worst was to happen, make sure the person who is listed to inherit it, can enjoy it too.

We highly recommend you consult with our sister brand woop for all your private legal requirements, such as preparing your Will amongst other professional legal services.

See our previous blog here

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