Fraud is a word we hear a lot these days and it’s a frightening reality that with the digital age fraud, including identity theft, is becoming more common. In the UK the unauthorised financial fraud losses totalled over £700 million in 2017. When it comes to estate management there are numerous scams for cheap Wills or other estate planning that can leave you and your family unprotected in the future.
What is Fraud in Wills?
The Society of Will Writers recently looked into this and they had this to say:
“Fraudsters are now more clever than ever and are going to even greater lengths to part you from your money. As the largest self-regulatory body governing the profession of Will Writing, the Society of Will Writers (SWW) provide a regulatory framework for over 1700 members. These members are expected to adhere to a defined set of standards and provide proof of professional indemnity insurance (PII) which meets SWW requirements. The process of gaining membership to the SWW isn’t too onerous but we do expect certain proficiency standards to be able to substantiate our claims that we protect the consumer.
Why does this matter? Your money matters to you and our profession is essentially unregulated meaning anyone can claim themselves to be a Will Writer. You really ought to do your due diligence on someone offering estate planning services before providing them with personal information and of course any money. The thing with Will writing is that the person or company taking your Will writing instructions finds out an awful lot about you and your finances, potentially meaning they have the ability to do an awful lot of damage”.
But what can you do about it?
The Society of Will Writers operates a membership and accreditation service for Will Writers – all members sign up to their code of conduct and agree to engage in continuous professional development throughout their career as well as adhering to strict membership requirements and proficiency standards. That means that using a society member means you are protected.
The Society of Will Writers itself is an independent non-profit, self-regulatory body serving to protect the public and the accredited professionals in the field. If you want to read more about the Society and their Customer Charter CLICK HERE
What should you look for?
There are a few things you can do to make sure you’re protected:
- Always ask for ID
- Look up your Will writer on the Society’s website: https://www.willwriters.com/members/
- Ensure your Will writer has appropriate insurance, privacy policies and terms of business in place
- Keep an eye out for the Society’s logo:
If you want to talk about your Will, Lasting Power of Attorney or want to talk about your Estate please give me a call today on 0115 878 0417 or email on Amanda@alhlegal-willwriters.co.uk.