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Why Will writers and probate professionals have a vital part to play

Recent newspaper headlines have revealed that a Kent probate solicitor has been charged with fraud offences and jailed for five years, after stealing £250,000 from several clients. Evidence during the trial revealed that he had been using fake identification documents to regularly transfer money and shares from clients to a false bank account.

The solicitor transferred £65,000 from a probate account to the fake bank account. From the same probate account he transferred shares to the value of around £96,500 into his fictitious name.  In all, a total of £202,568 was withdrawn from the probate account – money which was supposed to be allocated to various charities.

The only reason this man’s fraudulent activities were revealed was because the practice where he worked had received a number of calls from a local person, complaining that the solicitor had been operating under a false name.

This invalidates the current argument somewhat, that Will writing and probate work should be removed from the industry and transferred to solicitors and law firms, which are regulated by The Law Society.

This case demonstrates precisely how in every industry, there are those who would take advantage of the vulnerable and act in an unprofessional manner. Simply  taking a service away from one industry and giving it to another is evidently not the answer.  Most of the professional Will writers and probate experts instead believe that regulation of our industry is the only way forward.

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