The Law Society of England and Wales has raised concerns over the Legal Services Board’s (LSB) approach to competition with regards to the regulation of will writing and estate administration activities, warning that it may lead to an undesirable reduction in the consumer protection available.
It its response to the LSB’s latest consultation on will writing, probate and estate administration activities in England and Wales, the Society welcomed the LSB’s agreement with its campaigning priority – that will writers should be regulated – but was concerned that its preferred approach might still lead to problems for consumers and may risk a diminution of standards.
The Law Society also raised concerns that, if the proposals were to require significant changes by the existing regulators of will writing and estate administration activities, this would cause unnecessary delay and confusion.
In addition, the Society has stressed that the proposed new rules should be broadened to include will writing and estate administration services as well as powers of attorney and trusts.
Further, there is still uncertainty in relation to bodies, such as trade unions or banks, who may offer to prepare a will for free as part of the individual’s membership or bank account package, says the Society. These services should be covered by regulation even if there is no direct or even timely connection between any reward and the service provided.