Having a Will prepared is one of the most important steps a person can take towards ensuring their family’s security into the future.
However, despite the importance of the task of preparing a Will, and the emotional turmoil that can result if the task is not undertaken well (not to mention the cost), Will writing is not a regulated activity in England and Wales. This means that anyone can do it, and charge for it, regardless of training or experience.
There have been calls for statutory regulation for some time. The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) and the Law Society have campaigned at length for Will writing to be regulated and in February 2013 the Legal Services Board recommended regulation. The government, however, chose not to introduce official regulation and instead called on professional bodies to introduce tighter regulation through professional Codes of Practice.
In response, STEP has introduced the STEP Code for Will Preparation in England and Wales. The Code, which exists primarily for the benefit of clients, establishes a set of professional standards that STEP members must adhere to when preparing Wills. It is a guide to best practice and is to be welcomed in providing reassurance to those seeking to have a Will prepared of the level of service and professional standards they can expect from a STEP member.
STEP President, Geoffrey Shindler OBE TEP commented ‘The Code ensures that if you go to a STEP member to draft your Will, you can be confident that they are properly educated, operate to the highest professional competencies and to the highest possible ethical standards, both in the way they approach you and in the way they prepare your Will’.
At Hewitsons all Solicitors dealing with the preparation of Wills are STEP members and act in accordance with the Code. For further information please contact Jane Stebbings on 01604 233233 or speak to another member of our Private Client department.
For more information on our Will writing service, please click here.