Research carried out by Will Aid in July 2015 demonstrates that solicitors have little to fear from other providers of will- writing services despite widespread anxiety in law firms since deregulation in October 2011. Although the research year on year reveals slight fluctuations in the percentage of people using a solicitor to write their will, the average of the four years 2011- 2015 is almost 2 percentage points higher than in the four years up to 2011.
On the other hand, the percentage of people using a will-writer has declined from a high of 17.90% in 2008 to 10.50% today. Similarly, the percentage using a service from a bank or other organisation has declined markedly from 8.70% in 2009 to 5.9% in 2015.
Other research by the professional negligence team at Bolt Burdon Kemp has highlighted that the public are generally unaware of the rules and regulations governing will-writers and are shocked when they find out that will-writers, although often reputable and reliable, can practise without proper training, regulation or insurance.
Bolt Burdon Kemp's research also shows that 19% of people have prepared their will themselves, without seeking professional advice. Will Aid's research also points to a shift towards DIY wills with online services doubling from 1.6% in 2009 to 3.4% in 2015, and homemade wills up from a low of 3.6% in 2010 to 7.7% in 2015.
Homemade and DIY wills, whether completed online or in kit form or on the back of a cigarette packet, can be a minefield. And the problems are often not revealed until after the testator's death, leaving bereaved loved ones with uncertainty and expense whilst the whole mess is sorted out. Such wills also tend be more easily contested than those drawn up by a professional solicitor.
Will Aid Campaign Director, Peter de Vena Franks commented:
"It is evident both from research and from the popularity of Will Aid that the public prefer to use a solicitor to write their will, wherever possible. They are aware that with a solicitor you can be assured of a valid will and if anything does go wrong there is proper insurance and redress. This may not be the case with an unregulated provider and certainly isn't the case if you write your own will.
The charitable nature of the money raised by Will Aid is a big draw for people and encourages many thousands to enquire every year. Through the work of the charities, our solicitors and their clients have helped improve the lives of thousands of people in the UK and around the world. The wills written during the campaign also help people here to protect their assets and ensure that these pass to their loved ones. We need more solicitors to sign up for the 2015 campaign to meet public demand so please consider registering today."
Solicitors can register for the November 2015 campaign now at: www.willaid.org.uk or call: 0300 0309 558 or email: [email protected]
Notes for Editors
- Bolt Burdon Kemp is a national law firm specialising in negligence and compensation claims, including will-writing negligence claims
- Bolt Burdon Kemp's professional negligence team is cause driven and as advocates and champions for their clients, they are committed to raising awareness of will-writing negligence
- Bolt Burdon Kemp's professional negligence team recently conducted a nationwide will writing survey of 2000 people in England and Wales which uncovered a lack of awareness around will-writing pitfalls. The key survey findings can be found here: http://www.boltburdonkemp.co.uk/articles/confusion-over-will-writing/
- Bolt Burdon Kemp also created a video capturing people's reaction to the issues around will-writing negligence and an infographic with some of the survey results, which you can see here: http://www.boltburdonkemp.co.uk/professional-negligence/will-writing-claims
- For more information, or the full survey data, please call Bolt Burdon Kemp's editorial consultant on 01903 285 959 or [email protected]