Wills and Probate News
The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners of England and Wales has recently published a report expressing grave misgivings over services provided by Wills writers.
It highlighted that the majority of the public assumed that Wills writers were properly insured and regulated. This was often not the case. 63% of those involved in the survey had experienced Will writing companies going out of business and disappearing with their clients Wills.
Additionally two-thirds of those that responded had come across hidden fees which were not outlined in the stated price of the Will including hefty executor and probate charges which only come to light once a person has died. Just over a third also said that they had come across cases where incompetence had led to significantly higher tax bills which of course impacted upon beneficiaries.
The survey concluded that Will writers must have an appropriate qualification and they must have proper insurance cover in case of errors. They made the point that soon consumers would be granted protection.
Generally it stated that people making Wills should be aware that banks and Will writers routinely offer very cheaply made Wills knowing full well that the catch is in the overall percentage of fees that they charge once a person has died and once probate has been obtained by themselves or their nominated probate connections. In one case it was noted that a total charge of 4 percent of the whole estate had been levied upon the dead persons assets. Effectively this was something that the dead persons beneficiaries were going to be paying for as a result of such large fees being charged.
The Law Society has now called for a level playing field to give consumers greater protection. In the interim it is without a doubt the case that people who want to make a Will are much better protected by taking proper independent solicitors advice. Solicitors are fully professionally qualified, have the appropriate full insurance cover and are also usually located in professional probate departments within their respective firms.
If you would like to discuss any of the issues contained within this article then please do not hesitate to contact us