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Will-writing alert

The Legal Ombudsman has warned that confusion about whether will-writing firms and claims management companies are regulated leaves customers without protection.

The ombudsman published its first annual report to Parliament last week. It says the quality of legal services is generally reasonable but chief ombudsman Adam Sampson says confusion over which services are regulated is problematic.

He says: “One service which crops up a lot is will-writing. It is a service carried out often by firms which are not regulated. Because of this, customers are left with little means of redress when things go wrong.

“We have seen similar confusion about claim management companies, with lots of consumers believing they are getting a legal service even though most of the work is carried out by a non-authorised person. Again, we cannot help.”

Which? executive director Richard Lloyd says: “We want the Government and regulators to wake up to the lack of clarity and to provide a clear and straightforward route of redress.”

Churchouse Financial Planning director Keith Churchouse says: “Sadly, there are a few rogues in the will-writing industry causing problems in what is otherwise a beneficial service. If regulation can be brought in to introduce a minimum standard that would be worthwhile.”

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