Have you got your will sorted?
21st August 2010
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Martin Oates, partner in Poole Townsend solictors tells us about wills.

If a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right – and that includes your Will.

When you see a solicitor to prepare your Will you get someone who is:

  • professionally qualified to do the work, especially if they have the extra Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP qualification -which all of our Will writing solicitors do) and 
  • bound by a stringent code of professional conduct and 
  • covered by compulsory indemnity insurance

You can appoint Poole Townsend as Executors of your Will and know your assets and money are safe. There are so many checks and balances in a big firm like ours, it is pretty much impossible to run off with a clients’ money! Not that we would, of course.

Compare that with the recent news of a non-solicitor executor who stole more than £80,000 from the estate of a client. The man, who operated as a ‘will writer’, also faces a confiscation order against his assets. Much of the money was used to finance a luxury cruise for him and his wife and for gambling.

The theft was discovered by a cancer charity, which was due to benefit under the client’s will and which informed the police when no payment was forthcoming.

Unregulated will writers do not have to be legally qualified or insured. There is no regulatory body so there is no mechanism for bringing a complaint, and without insurance there may be no means of complaint or compensation should things go wrong. The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has announced that it has approved a Code of Practice which will apply to members of the Institute of Professional Will Writers (IPW) but this is a voluntary code and 80% of Will Writers are not members of the IPW in any case.

The OFT’s approval has to be seen as a welcome first step in the regulation of will writers. However, the code does not provide comprehensive consumer protection.

Will writers are not subject to compulsory regulation and the market is full of organisations and individuals offering will-writing services who have no relevant qualifications or proven competence. Some Financial Advisers dip their toes in Will writing services to bring in other work. Very few can offer the combined qualifications and expertise in both areas that we offer at Poole Townsend.

If you want your will to be drafted professionally and to minimise the risks of your beneficiaries being faced with an unpleasant surprise, or worse, it makes good sense to have your will drafted by a solicitor. Telephone Kelly Hill on 01229 402241 for a free appointment without obligation to discuss the options.

To find out more about Poole Townsend and its range of services, please click here

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