In the wake of the Ministry of Justice’s decision to reject calls to regulate the will-writing industry, a Leeds law firm has launched a new online wills review service.
Emsleys, which was recently awarded a mark of excellence for wills and probate work, says the new service aims to tackle the scourge of unregulated will-writers.
Liz Stephen, partner and head of wills and probate at Emsleys, said:
“Writing your will is far too important to put it in the hands of unqualified, unregulated and uninsured will-writers where standards can often be poor.
“Many people don’t realise that unless they use a solicitor, they have no protection if things go wrong.
“The Ministry of Justice last year rejected calls from the Legal Services Board to regulate the will-writing industry, so people remain at risk of sub-standard wills produced by untrained writers.
“Who deals with your estate, who inherits and who doesn’t and who brings up your children, could all be left in doubt.
“Many people get a free will from their bank or go to a will-writer. When the person dies, the family often finds that a third party is in charge, accessible only via a call centre and exorbitant fees are charged to wind up their estate.”
Only wills written by qualified solicitors are regulated – both by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and Legal Services Ombudsman – and law firms take out indemnity insurance in order to protect their clients.
Emsleys’ online ReviewMyWill service, aims to help anyone whose will may be out of date or unclear.
It will also offer advice on inheritance tax issues and inheritance disputes.
Emsleys recently joined only a handful of firms in the UK to be awarded membership to the Law Society’s Wills and Inheritance Quality Scheme (WIQS), the mark of excellence for wills, probate and estate administration.
The practice is the first law firm in West Yorkshire to be awarded the prestigious trust mark, which follows rigorous assessment by the Law Society.