Society of Will Writers 2013
14th May 2013
Will Writing Not To Be Regulated
The Lord Chancellor has today rejected the recommendations of The Legal Services Board and Will Writing will not become a regulated industry. More to follow…
13th February 2013
SWW Welcomes LSB Recommendation
Today the Legal Services Board (LSB) recommended to the Lord Chancellor that will-writing should become a regulated activity.
The Society of Will Writers (SWW) supports any move to raise consumer confidence and has worked closely with the LSB over the past two years to assist them in arriving at their conclusion.
By regulating will-writing in the future, this will give consumers greater confidence when seeking the services of a professional will-writer, and ensuring that they will have redress in the rare event that something goes wrong.
The SWW are disappointed that the LSB have stopped short of recommending the regulation of estate administration as the SWW has long identified and reported the fact that many of the cases identified as poor wills was due more to poor or fraudulent estate administration than to the actual quality of the Will. The SWW does however support the LSB’s reasons and agrees that regulation alone will not stop fraudulent or dishonest practices. The SWW would welcome the LSB looking at estate administration again in the future and we look forward to working with the LSB.
The SWW will support any move for consumers of will writing services to have direct access to the Legal Ombudsman (LeO) sooner rather than waiting for any call for regulation to be approved; this we see as a major step forward in gaining consumer confidence in the provision of will-writing services, as currently consumers have very little recourse should they wish to make a complaint other than through the self-regulating bodies such as the SWW or through the Courts.
The SWW will continue to work with its members and other organisations to ensure that the highest standards of education and service are maintained and to protect the interests of the consumer as it has done for nearly 20 years.
24th January 2013
Society of Will Writers moves to new offices
We are moving to new premises from Monday 28th January. The office will be closed from 12.00pm on Friday 25th January and we hope to re-open early on Monday. Unfortunately we have been let down by BT and our phone system will not be up and running by Wednesday 30th at the earliest. If you do need to contact us please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can call you back.
1st June 2012
Society of Will Writers congratulates Queen Elizabeth II
The Society of Will Writers would like to congratulate Queen Elizabeth II on her Diamond Jubilee.
Marking 60 years of The Queen's reign, the Diamond Jubilee celebrations will centre around an extended weekend on 2, 3, 4 and 5 June 2012.
The Queen came to the throne on 6 February 1952 and her coronation took place on 2 June 1953. She celebrated her Silver Jubilee (25 years) in 1977 and her Golden Jubilee (50 years) in 2002.
23rd April 2012
Society of Will Writers welcomes LSB recommendations
The Society of Will Writers welcomes consultation on the Legal Services Board (LSB) proposals that are published today.
Despite the very real benefits to consumers some will writing entities have shown themselves unwilling to submit to a standard of voluntary regulation that is capable of protecting consumers from the worst business practices.
The LSB has conducted extensive research to confirm these findings. As a result the LSB now recommends that the activity of will writing and the provision of probate services and the administration of estates should be
made regulated activities with the aim of ensuring that any and all providers engaged in these activities are subject to regulation.
The Society believes that these proposals should present a real opportunity for will writers to increase their share of the overall market as consumers can have increased confidence when arranging their wills because the provider is always properly regulated.
In accordance with the LSB request for consultation, the Society will be submitting its views (about) supporting the proposals to the LSB.
12th January 2012
RIP - Rest In Poverty?
A newly released report has shown that the cost of dying has risen by 20% since 2007 to an average of £7,248. The annual report by Sun Life Direct makes interesting reading and shows a lack of preparation and consideration by the population. The calculated cost of dying includes death related costs such as funerals, probate, headstones and flowers and has risen a huge £400 in the last 12 months alone.
The average funeral has increased by 61% in the last seven years leaving one in five people who have to organise one struggling with the costs. Despite the shocking statistics a quarter of people fail to make any provisions for end of life costs and 44% of people fail to plan their funeral as they believe it is down to their friends and family to organise and fund it. The rising demand for help with these expenses means that the state is struggling to meet the demand for assistance. This is likely to worsen as the volume of elderly people and the ageing ‘baby boom’ population is forecast to steadily increase over the coming decades.
The Dilnot report last year has already shown that people are failing to consider their own ‘end of life costs’ and this further report confirms that people are not planning how to fund the probate of their estate or their care at the end of their lives. For those who think the state will fund their funeral the statistics within the report will make ‘eye-opening’ reading. 38,000 funeral awards were made in 2010/11 however 44% of applications were unsuccessful. The average pay-out for a funeral is just £1,217 per applicant leaving a shortfall to be met by the family of the deceased.
Concerns have been expressed by a number of parties as to whether the current social infrastructure established to support people at the end of their life meets the needs of today’s society. Although the number of deaths in England and Wales is at an all time low (491,348 registered in 2009) it is anticipated the number of deaths will rise significantly by 2030 by a predicted 17%. “People are living longer and are therefore using more resources, both their own and the state’s” comments Dr Kate Woodthorpe, lecturer in Sociology at the University of Bath. She further confirms that “costs for social care are rising, living standard expectations are high and there remains an expectation that wealth is passed through the generations”.
If you would like further information on pre paid funeral plans please e-mail email@example.com.
29 November 2011
THE SOCIETY LAUNCHES SINGLE PARENT MONTH
SINGLE parents are being offered the opportunity to have a heavily discounted will written to protect their children’s future.
The Society of Will Writers (SWW), the UK’s leading professional body for the will-writing industry, is once again hosting Single Parent Month throughout January. Research has shown that single parents are one of the most likely groups not to have a will and the SWW is keen to change this.
The SWW, through its participating members, is offering single parents throughout the UK a chance to have their will written at a greatly reduced cost in the hope it will make them think about their children’s future and ensure, should anything happen to them, their children’s’ welfare is assured and that they would be entrusted to the person that they want to care for them, instead of leaving it to chance.
SWW Director General, Brian McMillan, said: “As parents with young children most of us never think about dying but sadly not all parents live long enough to see their children grow up. For single parents particularly, a will is the most important thing you can do for your children to ensure that guardianship and trusts are put in place should the unthinkable happen before your child is 18.
Throughout the month of January, SWW members across the country will be offering to write a single parent’s will for a fixed fee of £35 regardless of circumstances.
For further information about this initiative, or to find a local SWW member, please contact the SWW on 0800 838270 or email
The SWW has more than 1,700 members across the UK, all of whom are bound by the Society’s code of conduct and who carry professional indemnity insurance.
22 June 2011
PUBLIC TRUST IN LAWYERS - LESS THAN 50%
Only 47% of the general public in England and Wales say they would generally trust lawyers to tell the truth. Younger people (38%) and those from non-white backgrounds (34%) are less likely to be trusting of the profession. These are the worrying findings from a recent YouGov survey commissioned by the Legal Services Consumer Panel.
Better news for lawyers is that most consumers are happy with the outcome of legal work and the service they receive. However, satisfaction varies widely depending on the area of legal work. While 9 in 10 consumers surveyed are happy with outcomes (92%) and service (88%) for will-writing, fewer than 7 in 10 are happy with outcomes (69%) and service (68%) for accident or injury claims.
The profession is falling short on aspects of service. A significant minority of recent users are dissatisfied with levels of communication (11%) and timeliness (12%). Consumers are also less satisfied with how much they are paying in legal fees – a little over half of recent users (56%) considered they got good value for money.
Other key findings include:
The Legal Services Consumer Panel is releasing the findings of polling with consumers about their attitudes towards lawyers and experience of legal services. The research is being used to inform the Panel’s forthcoming Consumer Impact Report – the first consumer assessment of the Legal Services Act reforms.
Dr Dianne Hayter, Chair of the Legal Services Consumer Panel, said:
“Consumers place their trust in lawyers to protect their interests when they are at their most vulnerable, so it is extremely worrying that fewer than half of the public say they would generally trust lawyers to tell the truth.
“The recent revelation that lawyers may be charging clients to deal with complaints about bad service is one example of behaviour which is denting people’s trust. The profession must take a hard look at itself and work to restore confidence in lawyers as trusted advisors.
“Most consumers get the outcome they want when using legal services, but lawyers are not meeting their clients’ expectations in some crucial areas. No doubt businesses poised to enter the legal market from October will take note that consumers are demanding better value for money and excellent service from their lawyers.”
17 May 2011
Today the Society of Will Writers launches its latest Code of Practice to reflect the demands and expectations of consumers and consumer bodies.
Being a Member of the Society in the 21st century is about more than just writing Wills; all Society Members have to have the ability and the technical knowledge to work with individuals, families, business people and others in all walks of life; to help them plan for the future, to protect those they love and who depend on them in life by ensuring that as far as is practicable their estate passes as they wish either by gift or via a trust; but always by Will rather than leaving it to the Intestacy Rules.
Being a Member of the Society means that Members have to treat clients fairly and the Code we believe, goes beyond normal expectations to ensure that consumers know and understand their rights and have recourse in the rare event that ‘things may go wrong’. The Society maintains and operates a robust complaints procedure should the Member fail to arrive at a satisfactory resolution in cases of dispute.
The Code has been prepared in consultation with the Citizens Advice Bureau and Age Concern (now Age UK) as well as other leading consumer groups and application has been made to the Office of Fair Trading for official recognition under their CCAS scheme.
All Society members are fully indemnified in case of a problem in the future with the advice or documents supplied; the Society further guarantees* that in the event that a Member is unable, through illness, bankruptcy or death to complete the work that has been paid for, that the Society will provide or replace all the documents contracted for at no extra cost.
Consumers can be confident that by using a Member of the Society of Will Writers that they will be getting the right advice and assistance when it comes to future planning. Members of the Society are not legal GP’s; they are specialists in their chosen field of Wills and Estate Planning.
In today’s modern world of increased wealth and more complex families2 there has never been a greater need to protect the ones we love and to plan for the future when we are no longer around to do it ourselves.
As Director General of the Society of Will Writers and Estate Planning Practitioners, I am proud to be part of a continually developing profession and especially proud of the achievements of the Society and its Members over the past 17 years in making Wills and Estate Planning more accessible to the general public.
I hope you will enjoy our new web site and welcome any comments you may have. Please contact us on any of the links for free advice and details of Society Members in your area.
Brian W McMillan
The Society of Will Writers and Estate Planning Practitioners
1 Guarantee does not cover probate practices.
2 NCC Survey ‘Finding the Will’ August 2007
17 May 2011
SOCIETY LAUNCHES NEW WEBSITE
To coincide with the launch of the new Code of practice the Society has today launched its new website.
The website has been designed to offer easy navigation so that information can be found straight away. More public information on will writing will be added to the website over the coming months.
The members section has been completely overhauled and will now offer much more in terms of resources etc.
If you are having problems accessing the members area please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.