At the moment, will writing is not regulated. Not only lawyers, but pretty much anyone, can offer to write up your will for you. Supermarkets, private individuals and banks are all offering will write packages for a variety of budgets. You can even write your will yourself if you like. However, the difference is that solicitors are heavily regulated in all that they do. If they mess up your will, you can even sue them as this blog post containing testimony from a solicitor show. If you ask a private individual to write up your will for you though, and they are not officially a member of the legal profession, it will be difficult for you to ascertain how trustworthy they are. This is because will writing is not, per se, a regulated profession. So called ‘will writers’ may simply be out to make money and they may draw you up a will that – though it is expensive – is not legally watertight. For this reason, it is crucial to select your will writer wisely.
The importance of writing a will
Over half of people in the UK do not, studies suggest, actually have a will in place. However, writing a will is very important if you want your wishes to be respected after you die. A well written will will make sure that your family are protected financially after your death and that all of your property and money is distributed as you desire it to be. So, it is very important to write a will. In addition, once you have your will in place, it is crucial to update it as your circumstances change so that it reflects any new developments in your finances, marital status and so on.
What are the dangers of getting an unregulated individual to write your will?
If your will is written by someone who is unregulated, several problems can occur. Of course, they might write you a will that is perfectly fine – but there is a significant amount of risk involved. A worst case scenario is that your will writer takes a substantial amount of money from you and leaves you with a will that is not viable. They might leave loopholes or ambiguities in your will that make your wishes hard to interpret after you die. Or, they might not make the will comprehensive enough so that it does not cover all aspects of your wishes. A regulated solicitor or other legal professional, on the other hand, will take scrupulous care to complete your will to the highest standard.
The bottom line
In conclusion, it is vital not only to have a will in place but also to ensure that your will has been drawn up by a regulated individual. A solicitor is a prime choice in this regard. Of course, you can always draw up a draft of your will and get a solicitor to check it. What is important is that your wishes are interpreted as you want them to be after you die and that all of your loved ones are protected. So, why not get in touch with a solicitor now and ask them to draw up or update your will for you – if you have not already done so? The peace of mind that you and your family will feel afterwards definitely makes it all worth it.
Postscript: will writing become regulated in the future?
This is a good question to consider. At the moment, the UK government does not seem to be taking any steps to regulate will writing as a profession. However, it is definitely worth while keeping tabs on this issue. This is because, if will writing does become a regulated profession then all will writers would be subject to strict regulations and controls whether or not they are qualified solicitors. That would mean that you could get any accredited will writer to draw up your will with total peace of mind. However, this situation is still only a hypothetical one. At the moment, the best bet is always to get a solicitor to draw up your will for you. But, if you feel strongly that ought writing to be a regulated profession, you can always try and change that by starting a petition or getting in touch with your MP.