Regulation of Non-Lawyer Will Writers in Scotland

23 June 2010

Having a will prepared is a prudent and sensible thing to do when considering our financial affairs. Wills are important legal documents that determine how our property will be distributed on death.  But many put off making a will because they think going to see a solicitor would be too costly and inconvenient.

Recent reports have highlighted the concern about the lack of regulation of non-lawyer will writers. You may not know that non-regulated practices have been referred to by the Scottish Government as "often unnecessarily expensive".

Fergus Ewing, Minister for Community Safety, lodged amendments to the Legal Services (Scotland) Bill stating:

"We are very concerned that some non-lawyer will writers may be exploiting the lack of regulation to the detriment of the consumer in Scotland".

The Scottish Government provided the example of an elderly client being charged £1000 for a straightforward will and being driven to the bank by the will writer so that payment could be made. They also stated that other consumers had been charged £2400 for complex wills where simple ones costing £150 would have been appropriate.

Among other concerns were:

1.    Lack of skill and competence of the will writer

2.    Poor knowledge of inheritance tax

3.    Advice on English law

4.    Poor storage of wills

Yesterday, the amendments to the Legal Services (Scotland) Bill were passed. Scotland is ahead of the rest of the UK in offering such protections. This is a welcome step and provides the consumer with much needed protections while still ensuring there is choice in the marketplace.

At Inksters your wills are prepared by legally trained staff who are regulated by the Law Society of Scotland.  Did you know that wills not only require knowledge of succession law but also family, property, trust and tax law?

Our staff are always happy to talk to you about the preparation of your will and if you are interested in having one prepared please contact Kathleen Simmonds on 0141 229 0880 or send her an e-mail.

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