Did you know that anyone can set up in business to provide Will Writing, Estate Administration and Probate Activities? Just like that. Set up a website that looks professional, packed with home made testimonials and bring in unsuspecting consumers to make rich pickings.
I have been helping clients for over 20 years and I know that often they have no idea of what assets are in an estate, or how to get them.
But with a simple, one-page document, they can hand over total control of the estate to someone else, with no regulation, no insurance, no check ups. Can you imagine it? ‘Let me help you with that, Mrs Brown’ says the fraudster, lifting her shopping whilst picking through her handbag.
There is currently no regulation or monitoring in place to ensure that administrators do not help themselves to a client’s estate assets.
Unless, of course, they are lawyers. We are properly trained, fully insured, heavily regulated and regularly audited and inspected. I suppose this is why we are a bit more expensive too, but you pay for what you get.
Law Society President John Wotton, comments: ‘‘There are significant risks in allowing unqualified and unregulated will writers to have full control of an estate's assets.
“Will writing, the preparation and registration of a power of attorney and estate administration services should become properly regulated to protect consumers from unscrupulous will writers, whose only intention is to defraud by pressuring the consumer to name them as their attorney or executor.
“Without regulation, providers have the freedom to market and deliver services without meeting any professional standards to the detriment of consumers or, very frequently, their families”.
So, whilst Will Writers are not all bad, you should protect yourself by getting advice from someone who is fully trained, properly regulated, subject to strict accounting rules and procedures, regularly audited and inspected, and fully insured. EBay is not the place to buy a probate service”.
The Law Society is the representative body for more than 145,000 solicitors in England and Wales ('the Society'). The Society negotiates on behalf of the profession, and lobbies regulators, government and others.
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