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13 February 2013

Response to LSB’s recommendation that will-writing activities be reserved

ILEX Professional Standards (IPS) and The Chartered Institute of Legal Executives have issued the following statements relating to the Legal Services Board’s final decision on will-writing, estate administration and probate activities.

The recommendations from the LSB can be seen on their news pages.

IPS:

Welcoming the LSB’s announcement, Alan Kershaw, Chairman of ILEX Professional Standards (IPS) said: “We recognise the case for regulation of will writing. The consequences of a poorly drafted will are significant, with far-reaching consequences which, for some families, may be disastrous. The public have a right to expect that high standards will be assured and the evidence adds up to a clear case for this activity to become reserved.

“However IPS believes the LSB’s recommendation does not go far enough. There is a danger that failing to make estate administration a reserved activity risks repeating the weakness of the existing position where only one part of the wills and probate process is reserved. While we recognise that fraudulent behaviour can be addressed by means other than regulation, the need for competence and probity is no less in relation to the administration of estates than will writing.

“This decision will make it harder to assure the right level of competence in will writers. It is likely that public and consumer protection will be compromised if the result is that less competent and professional providers shift to estate administration - the part of the process which is most profitable, and where the need for client protection measures is greatest. IPS is concerned that the price advantage for unregulated providers will be accentuated, to the detriment of the public. “

CILEx:

In support, Chief Executive of CILEx, Diane Burleigh OBE, said: “CILEx is the natural home for specialty lawyers and on its behalf IPS is applying for CILEx to be designated as a regulator for will writers. We are confident our regulatory arrangements will be sufficiently flexible to assure the competence and character of will writers and also including those providing probate and estate administration services.”

ENDS