The Legal Services Board has announced that, following a public consultation exercise, it proposes to recommend to the Lord Chancellor that the list of “reserved activities” in the English and Welsh legal sector be amended to include will-writing and estate administration, as well as probate.
Chairman of the Legal Services Board, David Edmonds, said:
“The number and range of high quality submissions we received demonstrates that there is professional, business and consumer support for proposals to regulate will-writing. Only a small number of respondents did not, or took diverging views, and we have paid particular attention to them.
“The support shown, the research we have done and evidence provided, confirms our view that we should recommend that will-writing and estate administration activities should be reserved, predominantly on consumer protection grounds. Lives can be seriously damaged by incompetence or misdemeanour in drafting a will or administering an estate.
“This will be the first recommendation by the Board to bring new legal activities within the regulatory scope of the Legal Services Act 2007. It is not a step we take lightly. It will be targeted and proportionate. This is about achieving better regulation: to support innovation and competition; to deliver consistent consumer protection; and ultimately to improve consumer confidence to choose and use legal services. We believe that these goals are best pursued by the regulation of will-writing, probate and estate administration.”
The LSB will make recommendations to the Lord Chancellor early in 2013. The decision on whether or not to proceed with making will-writing, probate and estate administration “reserved activities” will be the Lord Chancellor’s .