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Professional will writer praises Panorama programme

You’ll have all seen it last night – the Panorama programme which “exposed” the fraudulent will writers and so-called probate professionals who prey on the vulnerable.  Believe me when I say that the genuinely professional ones among us are also pushing for regulation of this industry so you can come to us in confidence.  However, as this press release shows – it isn’t all going to be plain sailing…


Tony Crocker, owner of IWC Estate Planning & Management Ltd, last night praised the Panorama programme shown on BBC, which highlighted the devastating issue of families affected by unscrupulous conmen, posing as will writers and probate specialists.

The programme focused on cases including a will writing practice which failed to deliver our fifty thousand pounds’ worth of funds from an Estate to its beneficiaries, one which had actually lost a Will, and another which was allegedly, deliberately vague in explaining its true cost structure.

These are just some of the problems consumers are encountering when they deal with these individual companies, explains Tony.

He says:  “For some time now, the media has reported on tragic cases where either the deceased or their beneficiaries has been conned into thinking they are receiving a quality service and value for money.  Of course, every industry has its fair share of unscrupulous money grabbers, but the will writing industry, due in part to its sensitive nature, has been given particularly high profile.  This is especially so as it is currently unregulated”.

The programme went on to reveal that one of the industry’s voluntary organisations, the Society of Will Writers, is working with the Legal Services Board in England, to enforce regulation and protect the vulnerable.  Part of this might well include insisting on communicating a more transparent fixed fee structure, and making contractual terms and conditions absolutely clear.  However, the solution is not as clear cut as it may first seem, as Tony explains.

“There have been discussions about whether this area of specialism should be given solely to solicitors, who are regulated”, he says.  “However, my opinion is that this would be detrimental both to the professionals in the will writing industry, most of whom are legitimate, extremely knowledgeable and have years of experience; and to the consumer, who would without doubt suffer financially, after solicitors raise their fees to maximise the potential of this new demand”.

So, it seems that although everyone is keen to regulate the will writing and probate industry to protect the consumer, it is not a simple process and it may take some time to reach a sensible decision which will finally protect the deceased and their Estate.


Notes for editors:

Tony Crocker is owner of IWC Estate Planning & Management Ltd.  The company has been practising probate, will writing, estate matters and Inheritance Tax guidance for over ten years and Tony himself is a member of the Society of Will Writers.  He has been featured in  Moneywise magazine.

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