Review of Processes – Initial Documents

11th January 2024Manisha Chauhan6

Happy New Year!

As we start the year, many of us have New Year’s resolutions or a list of things we want to achieve in the coming year. One thing that may be on your list of things to do is review your internal processes.

In this new series of articles, we will set out to cover some of these processes and give you some tips and advice.

This article will start with the basics and look at what documentation we would advise you to have in place before you take instructions for a Will and estate plan.

Client Care Letter/ Terms of Business

Although there isn’t a formal requirement to provide a client care letter, you do need to provide the client with information on the services you offer.  Law firms have an obligation to provide information on their services at the point at which they are instructed by the client.

A client care letter or terms of business is a very useful document to have as this sets out the terms on which the client has engaged your services. Members who use our Terms of Business template (available in the Member’s area) will note this covers what the company undertakes to do, what is expected from the client, refunds, notice of the right to cancel, any liabilities and lastly where to direct any complaints. Your letter or terms of business should clearly set out what the client has engaged for you to do, the cost, and the timeframe by which the work is to be completed i.e. when draft and final documents will be sent to the client.

Not only does this document set out clearly what you have agreed with the client and the terms on which they have signed to accept but can also reduce potential complaints arising at a later date.

We would always advise you to have this signed by all clients before proceeding and a copy placed on your file with another copy left with the clients.

Cancellation Form

A client has the right to cancel their contract within 14 calendar days in accordance with The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013.

If your terms of business do not incorporate a cancellation form, you should provide one to the client separately. We would add that use of a cancellation form is optional but cancellation of a service should be in writing and contain the following information:-

  • A clear statement that notice is being given to cancel the contract
  • References
  • Date the contract commenced
  • Consultants name
  • Name and address
  • Signed and dated
Privacy Policy

As a business, you will hold personal data and therefore you will need a privacy policy, sometimes also referred to as a privacy notice, in place. This is so clients are aware of why and how you collect and process their personal data, as well as how long it will be kept and what happens when the data is no longer required.

Money Laundering

As a will writer, you are required to take all reasonable and proper precautions to verify the identity of your client and that the instructions you take come from that person. This is in accordance with the Money Laundering Regulations 2007.

Before you proceed with taking instructions from the client, you should obtain 2 forms of ID from each of your clients. One must be photo ID and the other must be a proof of address.

You should obtain one document from list A and one document from list B

List A – Identity Document

  • Current signed passport
  • Valid UK photo driving licence
  • EEA member state identity card

List B – Proof of Address

  • Valid UK/EU/EEA Drivers Licence – if not used from List A
  • Bank or building society statement
  • Utility bill
  • Council tax bill
  • Mortgage statement

Any document produced for proof of address must be no older than 3 months and must have the client’s current address. A copy of the ID should then be kept with the file so you can show you took steps to identify the client before taking instructions.

Manisha Chauhan

Manisha joined the Society’s Technical Advice Team in July 2019 having previously worked as an Employment Solicitor in Warwickshire before relocating to Lincolnshire. Manisha provides advice on technical queries for Society Members and ongoing support on our professional drafting software, Sure Will Writer.


  • Steve Drury

    18th January 2024 at 4:11 pm

    A driving licence has both photo ID and proof of address, so wouldnt a driving licence on its own be sufficient?


    • Manisha Chauhan

      22nd January 2024 at 2:01 pm

      Hi Steve, we would advise the driving licence be one form of ID for either the address or the photo and the other form of ID obtained.


  • Steve Drury

    18th January 2024 at 4:14 pm

    could i have a look at the Society of Will Writers Privacy Policy template please?


    • Manisha Chauhan

      22nd January 2024 at 2:00 pm

      Hi Steve, if you could please email the membership team, they will be able to provide this to you


  • Sarah McGuire

    8th February 2024 at 4:22 pm


    I see the code of practice states we should have a complaints policy to give to clients. Is there a template for this?


    • Manisha Chauhan

      13th February 2024 at 9:34 am

      Hi Sarah, I’m afraid we don’t have a template


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The Society of Will Writers is a non-profit making self-regulatory organisation whose primary objectives are the advancement, education and ethical standards within the will writing profession.

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