In response to the UK government’s decision not to regulate Will writing STEP has launched a new Code of conduct for Will Preparation that all STEP members who prepare Wills MUST adhere too.
Only STEP members can claim to be compliant with the code which sets out standards of transparency and service that a client can expect when using a member. This reassures a client that they are getting the best level of advice and service when doing a Will.
Some areas addressed in the code include;
- Pressure to appoint the Will company as executors in the Will
- Selling of unnecessary complex Wills
- Misrepresenting the consequences of not making a Will
- Obtaining advance payment for probate plans
- Inadequate storage facilities
All Pavilion Row‘s Will advisers and Will drafters are members of STEP and are therefore bound by the new code.
When STEP announced the launch of the Code Geoffrey Shindler OBE TEP, STEP President , commented: “The Code will, I hope, become the hallmark to which all aspire when drafting wills. It is a condition of membership that we all adhere to the code, but it should be seen less as a burden and more as a positive benefit. It will demonstrate to clients, the public, to the government and to regulators that we are of a gold standard when it comes to preparing wills for individual clients.”
Pavilion Row see this as a very positive move forward to improve the quality and level of service within the Will industry. It will, we hope, help to eradicate ‘cowboy Will writer’ behaviours, practised by a very small minority, that are currently tarnishing the industry.”
Since the launch of the STEP Code the SRA have launched new non-mandatory guidelines for solicitors who prepare Wills.
The guidance has a focus on professional ethics and behaviour and includes;
- NOT misleading a client to believe they have to retain a solicitor to write their will, or that it is the norm.
- NOT as a default position appointing themselves as professional executors
- The solicitor not encouraging the client to appoint them as executors unless there is a clear reason to do so e.g. it is likely to be contentious or complex
Whilst only STEP can guarantee a true level of qualification in this niche part of law we see that the STEP Code and the SRA guidelines are setting the path to creating a much fairer and transparent service for the clients