What’s next for Will Writing in 2022?

7th January 2022Siobhan Rattigan-Smith0

The holiday season is over, the New Year has been rung in, and we’ve mostly finished that left over tub of Quality Streets by now. 2021 hasn’t been without its trials for Will Writers with the still ongoing pandemic but the SWW has been proud to see so many of the members adapting and out there doing their best to still see to the needs of their clients. We’ve seen wills signed on car bonnets and through windows, and even people taking advantage of the temporary legislation allowing for video witnessing. It has also been wonderful to see so many members getting involved with their regional groups via Zoom with some groups even seeing higher turnouts this way. But now it is time to look forward to 2022.

Here is a short round up of what is in store for the Will Writing and Estate Planning industry this year.

IHT reporting requirement changes

The Inheritance Tax (Delivery of Accounts) (Excepted Estates) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 are effective from the 1st January 2022 and makes some changes to the IHT reporting requirements which will lead to more estates being exempt from returning the IHT400 and only needing to submit the short IHT205 instead.

Probate fee rise

From the 26th January 2022 probate fees are increasing. Currently the fee is £215 for citizens and £155 for professionals. At the end of this month this fee is rising to £273 both personal and professional applications. There continues to be no fee for estates with a net value of less than £5000.

Remote witnessing ends unless extended

During the height of the Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns were a huge barrier to people signing their will validly. At some points it wasn’t legal to invite the neighbours round to witness the will, and in most cases other people living in the same home as the testator aren’t valid witnesses as they are benefiting from the will. In response to this an emergency amendment to section 9 of the Wills Act 1837 was made to allow for remote witnessing. This is due to come to an end on 31st January 2022 so wills signed after this date must revert back to being witnessed in person.

Update 11/01/2022 – Ministry of Justice confirm video-witnessed wills legislation extended (https://www.gov.uk/government/news/video-witnessed-wills-legalisation-extended)

Care fee guidance

At some point in the Spring the Government are due to release more detailed guidance on the upcoming changes to care fee assessments in time for the implementation of the changes in October 2023.  Key changes include a care fee cap of £86,000 for personal care, and an increase in the threshold for qualifying for support to £100,000 – up from £23,250.

Funeral plan regulation

From 29th July 2022 the pre-paid funeral planning sector will become subject to regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). To continue selling funeral plans a provider will need to either apply to the FCA for direct authorisation or apply to become an appointed representative of a principal firm.

Cold calling in relation to selling pre-paid funeral plans will be banned, as will the making of commission payments to intermediaries. Instalment product plans that don’t guarantee a funeral will also be banned.

Deadline to register existing trusts with the Trust Registration Service (TRS)

As part of the UK’s implementation of 5MLD new rules were introduced on 6th October 2020 in relation to the TRS. The scope of registration requirements has been extended to cover non-taxable relevant trusts. Subject to some exemptions, all UK express trusts must be registered on the TRS under the new rules as well as non-UK trusts acquiring UK land or property or who enter into a continuing business relationship within the UK.

The TRS has been open to registration of non-taxable trusts since 1st September 2021, but the deadlines for registration are as follows:

  • non-taxable trusts in existence on or after 6 October 2020 must register by 1 September 2022
  • non-taxable trusts created after 1 September 2022 must register within 90 days of creation
  • Taxable relevant trusts that are created on or after 6 April 2021 must be registered within 90 days of the trust becoming liable for tax or by 1 September 2022 (whichever is later)
  • Taxable relevant trusts created before 6 April 2021 are the same as before. A taxable trust created before 6 April 2021 must be registered by 5 October or 31 January after the end of the tax year in which the tax liability first arises.
SWW 25th conference

It hasn’t been officially announced yet but SWW members will have a very exciting event to look forward to this year. October 2022 will see our 25th annual conference and we’re hoping to make this year’s event extra special and as always filled with talks and seminars from industry leading speakers, wonderful exhibitors, and an opportunity to let your hair down with a private dinner and entertainment in the evening. Look out for the official launch in the coming months.

A new edition of the STEP Provisions?

The Society of Estate and Trust Practitioners (STEP) announced last year that a new edition of the STEP provisions was being worked on and that they hoped to publish this 3rd edition at the end of 2021. It seems that this didn’t go ahead, so hopefully this year we will see a revised version of the STEP provisions.

A more detailed write up on each topic discussed here will follow, so keep following our blog and subscribe to our newsletter for more information and weekly updates.


Photo by Behnam Norouzi on Unsplash

Siobhan Rattigan-Smith

After graduating from the University of Lincoln with a 2:1 in Law in 2014 Siobhan has dedicated herself to will writing as the head of the Society’s technical team. Siobhan is also the lead tutor for The College of Will Writing, teaching a handful of courses including our SWWEPP 4-day introductory course.

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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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