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Woman's experience prompts crusade against unregulated Will writers

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A woman has issued a stark warning about the dangers of people using unregulated Will writers to set their affairs in order.

Esther Guy said that she used a firm to draft a Will and Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), unaware that they weren’t regulated.

When she received the draft Will she was shocked to discover that the company had nominated itself as reserve executor and none of her wishes about life-sustaining treatment had been incorporated into the LPA document.

Her experience has persuaded Ms Guy to make others aware of the potential dangers.

“I have suffered much stress and lost my money,” said the 63-year-old, who had been asked to pay the full amount before she was given business terms.

“Solicitors do not offer you any freebies and they don’t ask you for full payment up front. There are no extra charges incurred for witnessing of documents or storage of your Will.

“I am very happy now that I have instructed a solicitor, who prepared my Will within four days, and there were no mistakes or extra charges.”

Five years ago, the Legal Ombudsman said that thousands of people in the UK were being “ripped off” by unregulated Will writers, with victims often having no way to seek redress for the failings.

Over the summer, one Trading Standards department in Lincolnshire was actually moved to issue a warning about the dangers of unregulated providers.

Louisa Harris, senior Trading Standards officer, said:  “If you doubt the legitimacy of any legal services you are being offered, check with the SRA (Solicitors Regulation Authority) that they are regulated.”