The Law Society is to launch a will-writing and probate accreditation scheme along the lines of its Conveyancing Quality Scheme, it emerged last week in a speech by the chief executive.
The speech also contained calls for solicitors to exploit the potential of will banks to compete with new entrants to the market.
Because of traffic delays, Desmond Hudson’s speech to the Law Society’s private client annual conference was delivered by the Society’s director of legal policy Mark Stobbs.
While stressing the advantage of going to a solicitor for a will, the text of the speech said that it may be necessary to acknowledge that: ‘Welcome or not, the practical reality of regulatory and stakeholder thinking is that being a solicitor is no longer thought to be enough.’
In the light of this, ‘my instinct is that the Law Society should support our members by providing an accreditation and marketing scheme. Such a scheme can demonstrate specialist skills, quality assurance and appropriate service standards, delivering value to the market based around our strong brand’. A Society spokeswoman said the scheme is likely to be launched early next year.
Hudson also criticised the quality of research by the Legal Services Board which underpinned its call for will-writing and estate administration to be reserved. But, anticipating the consequences of what regulation of will-writing could mean for the profession, he urged solicitors to further increase standards and to value their relationships with clients more highly.
He said: ‘We as a profession must recognise the realpolitik of the intended changes and embrace the practical realities of understanding the market and markets in which we operate and which others covet. This means considering link-ups with other service providers like undertakers, new ways to exploit the business potential of our will banks and how collective action around a 21st century national will register may all be necessary.’
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