Wills and Inheritance Quality Scheme
With the Wills and Inheritance Quality Scheme due to open for applications on 31 October, it appears that Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) practices are not in themselves regulated well enough in order to gain the trust of the consumer.
The scheme is encouraging such law firms to sign up, in order to offer additional security for the person looking for will writing and probate services – presumably in the absence of any current enforced regulations within our specific industry.
It offers SRA practices relevant guidelines and requires them to undertake compulsory training.
Whilst I feel that regulation is absolutely the way forward for the will writing and probate industry, this particular step by the Law Society does seem rather short sighted. Closing themselves off from other practitioners within the sector (and remember, there are many types of practitioners – not just law firms and solicitors), I ask why it feels there is a need for additional regulation when its firms are already regulated?
If you look in the newspapers most weeks, you’ll see why. Inevitably, you’ll find articles relating to individual solicitors who have been charged with misconduct or fraud – hardly great press for the legal eagles.
I suspect that when regulation is introduced – and I fully believe that it will at some point – this particular scheme, which will have cost the Law Society no small sum, will fall by the wayside.
Rather than the legal sector trying to differentiate and promote itself in this way, why not work together with accountants and independent professionals to offer a high level of service to all clients?
In the meantime, if you’re looking for a professional to prepare a will or carry out probate, just be sensible. Ask your friends and family. Research relevant, self-regulated specialists on the web and ensure they offer clear, fixed fees – check out any good or bad reviews. The internet can be exceptionally revealing so if there are any complaints about the firm, you’ll be likely to find them very easily!