Losing everything you’ve worked hard for or everything your family have worked hard to accumulate doesn’t bare thinking about, and you should take all reasonable steps to protect your assets.
You wouldn’t buy a car without checking the garage’s reputation and credibility so don’t be taken in by a Will Writer or Solicitor either. For the sake of a phone call or internet search, run a check on the person or firm you intend to use.
The fact is that anyone can hold themselves out as a Will writer, but this doesn’t mean they’re honest, trustworthy or dependable.
The Society of Will Writers (SWW) exist to provide a consumer safeguard to members of the public who choose to have their Will or succession documents drafted by an SWW member. We do this by vetting practitioners with stringent entry requirements and annual renewals at which point the member in question is required to provide us with up to date proof of insurance and CPD.
CPD stands for Continuous Professional Development. We expect all SWW members to train themselves on an annual basis and report the training undertaken to the SWW.
Putting these safeguards in place is one way that we work to provide you with professionals who are ‘safe to do business with’.
The use of our logo is strictly a membership benefit and the SWW work with the Intellectual Property Office where people purport to be members and aren’t compliant. As a consumer you shouldn’t simply rely on someone displaying the SWW logo. With over 1700 members working under the SWW banner you should make the necessary checks on the person coming to visit you.
We supply all members with an annual I.D card and certificate of compliance. These should be shown to you upon request. There is no harm in asking to see sight of the professional’s insurance as well. Whilst you might not know what to look out for, if it is a current certificate of insurance (professional indemnity) covering their Will writing business then this should be fine. The SWW set a minimum requirement of £2million as a level of indemnity.
If you’re ever unsure about the person coming to see you, give us a call. We’re only too happy to help.
If you have concerns about a Will Writer, report them to us, trading standards and if you suspect fraud then notify the police or Action Fraud.
As the largest self-regulatory body of our type we work with organisation like the Legal Services Board, The Competitions and Market Authority and the Law Commission on matters relating to consumer protections, transparency within our industry and regarding the legislation governing the creation of these legal documents.
When it comes to the pricing that Will Writers charge the SWW chooses to have no input on this and there are many variables which govern the charges in place. There will be statutory charges for things like the registration of Lasting Power of Attorney Documents, the complexity of the documents needed, and the level of advice provided. Whilst we will never comment on prices charged it is worth consulting a number of Will writers and not allowing any practitioner to force you into making any decisions.
Whilst it’s likely that a practitioner will have a great level of knowledge on the subject of succession law, this doesn’t mean you need to accept their advice. Where you choose not to follow the advice of the Will writer, they may ask you to sign something to this effect. This will mean that should a claim arise on the grounds of advice in the future, the Will writer will be able to show the advice provided and the decision made by the client.
If you ever have any concerns, give us a call and we’ll talk this through with you.
If you’re a Will Writer and would like to come under the umbrella of the SWW then call our membership team to understand more about the support, advice and self-regulatory framework we provide.