Private client: Where there's a will, there's a way
The world of wills and probate has recently become a battleground over whether writing a will should be a reserved legal activity. A reserved legal activity may only be carried out by regulated legal professionals such as solicitors and barristers. However, people who are not subject to any regulation at all may complete a great deal of legal advice and services including - to the vexation of the legal profession - the writing of wills. This has resulted in a whole industry of non-lawyer will writers fuelled by the fact that the majority of adults in the UK do not have a will, meaning that there is a significant underlying demand for their services. It is, of course, in the legal profession's interest that will writing becomes a reserved activity, but lawyers argue it is in the public's interest, too. Arguments have been advanced both for and against regulating, based on the need for consumer protection on one hand and the cost burden and effectiveness of regulation on the other.
The consumer market for will writing is huge, which has resulted in shady practices by many non-lawyer writers. Cordelia Brand explains the challenges faced by those canvassing for will writing to be a reserved legal activity
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