There have been a couple of posts in this section that have made reference to Willwriting companies. I thought it would be a good idea to tell you a bit about the Willwriting sector and the Institute of Professional Willwriters (IPW).
You will probably be aware that Willwriting is currently an unregulated sector of the legal profession. In 2005/6 the Government investigated whether the sector should be regulated and despite campaigns by the IPW, the Institute of Legacy Management, the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners and The Law Society, the Government felt that the case for regulation had not been proven.
So anyone can set themselves up as a Willwriter – they do not need to have any training or qualifications.
The IPW was formed in 1991 and has 400 members across England, Wales and Scotland.
All of our members have sat and passed an entrance examination.
The IPW provides access to range of courses and education programs, delivered both internally and externally through established legal training providers.
All of our members who are principles in a Willwriting business have to complete 12 hours of CPD every year in topics relating to Wills and succession. Our CPD program is not a self certified program – members have to prove that they have completed CPD training.
All of our members must hold Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) of at least £2million. To this date (he says, touching wood!) there has not been a successful claim against our policy. Our work on education and risk management means that we can deliver PII to our members at premiums significantly lower than outside of membership – and at rates that would make any solicitor weep!
All of our members must complete an Enhanced Criminal Records Bureau Disclosure every 5 years
All of our members must work to a Code of Practice which has an independent (from the IPW) complaints procedure. Our Code of Practice is about to be submitted to the Office of Fair Trading for approval under their Consumer Codes Approval Scheme.
The IPW now believes that its members are equipped to deliver a professional, ethical and competent Willwriting service.
There is now an effective (and willing) alternative to getting a Will drafted by a solicitor. Many charity supporters will have their own reasons for not wanting to visit a solicitor and a call to action to see a solicitor (and only a solicitor) may result in no action being taken – and a missed opportunity for a legacy. We believe that charity supporters should be given the opportunity to have their Will written through a competent solicitor OR a competent Willwriter.
The IPW would be happy to help set up a Willwriting campaign for any charity, either on a national basis through IPW members across the country or locally through a local consortium of some of our members. I am aware of the possible problems if a charity recommends one firm to their supporters to make a Will.
Thanks for your time.
Institute of Professional Willwriters
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