The Law Society has issued a warning on the dangers of using unregulated will writers, by citing more than a dozen recent examples of problems with wills drafted in this way.
The examples range from a case in which a woman’s entire estate passed to her estranged son, who had not seen her for over 20 years, instead of (as she wished) to her long-term carer to a case in which a will was completely invalid simply because the will writer failed to have the testator’s signature properly witnessed.
There were also many examples given of will-writing companies which had disappeared, making the originals of the wills impossible to find or which charged much higher sums than their advertising would suggest. In one case, a charge of £700 was made for a straightforward will.
One particularly sad example involved a will writer who appeared to be in league with a trust company, which was appointed executor and which charged a large ‘termination fee’ when the family decided they wanted to appoint family members as executors.
Will-writing companies frequently do not have indemnity insurance, so if mistakes are made, there is often no redress.