Writing a will is one of the most important things you can do for to ensure your loved ones are cared for after you die. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has recently sounded the alarm over the will-writing and pre-paid probate services that are offered by unregulated providers.
Unlike solicitors, who are strictly regulated, will-writers and those dealing with the preparation of Wills and the administration of estates are completely unregulated, which, if they are negligent or dishonest, is often to the detriment of the client.
In a recent report, the CMA warned that some providers are offering services that may not be suitable for the customers’ needs. Concerns include that some providers may be offering unfair terms or practices, leading to clients not getting the best deal for their money.
In some instances, this may mean clients paying a higher final cost than anticipated or previously advised, with other contracts automatically appointing the firm as executor following the death, sometimes at a further additional fee.
The regulator also warned of instances where providers go out of business, leaving loved ones unable to trace or access a will that was held by the provider. In the worst-case scenario, this could, therefore, lead to beneficiaries being unable to benefit from their loved one’s will.
In addition to will writing services, the CMA has identified a number of problems with pre-paid probate services. These services, which allow customers to pay a fee up-front for a will and probate service, have been found to lack transparency around the costs of services provided. Worryingly, the CMA also found evidence of pressure selling to vulnerable clients.
It is essential that customers take steps to ensure they are getting an appropriate will-writing and probate service. Solicitors’ firms are bound by codes of conduct and must follow strict procedures that are designed to protect clients’ best interests. Clients that use unregulated firms, however, have no such protections in place.
When it comes to will-writing and probate services, it is essential to consider the quality of service you are receiving. That is why it is important to choose a provider who is experienced, reputable and committed to providing a service that is tailored to your individual needs and wishes.
At O’Donnell Solicitors, we understand the importance of getting the right will in place to ensure your wishes are respected. Our highly experienced team are dedicated to providing clients with the highest standards of advice that meets their individual needs and wishes. We ensure that our clients are provided with clear and straightforward information about our services and that our costs are laid out before any work is carried out. We also provide a transparent and fair pricing structure and will always explain any additional costs that may be incurred.
Please contact Jill Waddington today to discuss making a will or any other aspect of planning your future.