The Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC) is an Approved Regulator for conveyancing and a Licensing Authority for probate and estate administration services.
Following the publication of the Legal Services Board (LSB) consultation document entitled “Enhancing consumer protection, reducing regulatory restrictions: Will writing, probate and estate administration activities” earlier this year, the CLC has issued their response in regards to Will writing.
The CLC is in agreement with the LSB that the current consumer protection measures in place are not sufficient and that “a case has been made for will writing to be designated a reserved legal activity.” Particular areas for improvement include accountability for enforcing appropriate standards amongst service providers and increased education for consumers, especially given that Will writing and related services are not everyday purchases.
The CLC also cautioned that the LSB must strongly consider the impact of regulation on those consumers who decide to use DIY packages, to ensure that they do not conflict with their overall objectives of protecting and endorsing consumers’ best interests.
The CLC believes that the level to which Will writing and related activities are regulated (eg. power of attorneys and trusts) should be proportionate to the assessed level of risk involved. Further to the LSB’s core list of regulatory features, the CLC advocates full and necessary checks on individuals who are named as Executor or given power of attorney. It is true they are in a “position of trust” and should act accordingly, in the best interest of their clients, and explain any potential risks in a transparent manner.
In addition, the CLC has recommended further research into the financial implications for newly regulated providers but has advised that if Will writing does become a reserved legal activity, they will apply to be regulators.