The government may consider again the issue of making will-writing a regulated activity, Chris Kenny, chief executive of the Legal Services Board (LSB), has suggested.
Kenny said that correspondence between the LSB and justice minister Shailesh Vara "interestingly seems to leave open the door for further consideration of the will-writing issue in due course," recently published LSB documentation shows.
The news comes around a year after Lord Chancellor Chris Grayling decided not to make will-writing a reserved legal activity as proposed by the LSB, saying that standards in will-writing would instead be ensured through more rigorous voluntary regulation schemes and codes of practice. At that time, the Ministry of Justice was apparently in favour of will-writing regulation but the move eventually failed to receive support across government, Legal Futures commented.
Earlier this year, then-LSB chairman David Edmonds wrote a letter to the justice minister, stating that the LSB was reluctant to provide "targeted guidance" to regulators on developing a set of requirements for firms writing wills, insisting this would be the same as asking them to treat will-writing as reserved activity despite the government decision. Edmonds argued that the LSB had no power over the unregulated will-writing market but said it would take the lead in encouraging the industry to raise standards among providers.
Edmonds also said that he had reminded regulators of the board's research on will-writing, which uncovered a range of quality issues and general "sloppiness," and was reviewing their responses. For more information visit Legal Futures.