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Call for Evidence to assist investigation into will-writing, estate administration and probate activities

05 September 2011

The Legal Services Board (LSB) is today issuing a call for evidence about how best to protect consumers of will-writing, probate and estate administration services. The Board welcomes evidence from members of the public, legal businesses, other businesses active in these markets and all other interested parties. The deadline for evidence is 5pm, Friday 4 November 2011.

On 28 July 2011, the Board gave notice to the Lord Chancellor of its decision to initiate a statutory investigation into the need for regulation in these three closely associated areas. This continues a process begun in September 2010, when the Board asked the Legal Services Consumer Panel to provide it with advice on consumers’ experience of the will-writing market and whether greater protections may be needed. The Panel’s advice and underpinning evidence suggested significant consumer detriment in these markets. This culminated in a recommendation from the Consumer Panel to the Board that will-writing ought to be made a reserved legal activity (meaning a service that can only be undertaken by providers authorised by approved regulators in the legal services market).

We are now seeking further evidence to help us determine whether we should make a recommendation to the Lord Chancellor that will-writing be reserved and, if so, what kind of regulatory protections need to be put into place. We are extending the investigation to the closely associated areas of probate and estate administration because of their relationship to the will-writing market.