While commending the decision of the Legal Services Board (LSB) to recommend to the Lord Chancellor that Will writing should become reserved legal work, the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) has expressed dissatisfaction with the LSB's move to leave estate administration out of regulation.
STEP said the lack of a similar recommendation for estate administration represents a lost opportunity to enhance consumer protection and may also result in market distortions.
It is STEP's belief that Will writing, probate and estate administration are closely related activities in the minds of most consumers, as well as in the business models of many service providers, so there should be a single set of regulations covering all three activities.
The area of estate administration needs as much regulation as Will writing as the process of handling a deceased's estate is where massive fraud and theft is most likely to happen, said STEP chief executive David Harvey.
The LSB's decision to exclude estate administration from reservation is a change from its position set out in its provisional report, which cited compelling evidence that consumers were not receiving adequate protection in the estate administration market, STEP added.